Ipswich under-16 Boys squared-off against Southwark Pride in a marathon match at Copleston, as they edged a 76-68 victory.
A fast start was key for the Suffolk side, who dominated the opening stanza 22-8, allowing only two field goals, and preventing the guests from getting a foothold in the game with stifling team defence. At the other end of the floor, quick, unselfish ball movement was the focus from Ipswich, who were rewarded with a number of open looks.
Pride fought back through the middle periods, but Ipswich continued to build their lead, as once again Ethan Price anchored the Suffolk side’s defence, while Lewis Tebbit and Veron Eze joined him in keeping the scoreboard ticking-over.
With ten minutes to play, Ipswich led 68-50. However, Southwark showed they were no pushovers, and dialled-up the intensity in the fourth quarter, holding Ipswich scoreless until Tom Payne split a pair of free-throws in the fifth minute, and bringing it back to 69-62 with three minutes to play.
With Price and Tebbit fouling out, Coach MacDonald called a timeout to calm his side’s nerves, and put the ball back in Ben Winter’s hands, with his captain keeping the ball moving and managing the clock, as Ipswich took the closing minutes 7-6, to seal victory.
Lewis Tebbit (19), Ethan Price (17) and Veron Eze (16) led the scoring for Ipswich.
“I thought last week’s performance would be difficult to top, but this was superb,” said Coach Arron MacDonald after the game. “The first quarter was probably the best period of basketball I can remember being involved in, in terms of how dialled-in our guys were, how hard they were working, their communication and ball movement, and putting the ball in the basket.”
“We were conscious we’ve been a little bit inconsistent at home, and we knew that the gym would be a little more full than normal with the Men following us, the lads wanted to go out there and show everyone what they could do, and we did at both ends in that first period. The second and third quarters were good too – but the fourth quarter simply wasn’t acceptable in terms of effort or execution.
“We know teams won’t just roll over and give us the win, and we can’t allow teams to out-work us to leave with a win we’ve worked that hard for throughout the thirty minutes leading up to that point. None of that takes away from how proud I am of these guys though – because the easiest thing would have been for us to give in, but they stuck at it, and they earned the result.”
“We certainly could have made things more comfortable for ourselves though, we left 22 points at the charity stripe today, we missed quite a bit around the basket too, and we switched off for the first five minutes of the fourth – so we’re not going to be resting on our laurels. We know Oaklands will be coming here with revenge on their mind next week, and we’re going to go to work this week to keep driving forward, and build upon this positive momentum we’ve generated”.
Up next for Coach MacDonald’s side are Oaklands Wolves at Copleston on Saturday 10th December at 11:00am.