Ipswich made it three wins in four games with a solid 76-62 victory against a strong Liverpool side in front of well over 200 spectators at Copleston on Saturday.
Ipswich have made life difficult for themselves this season, losing their first two games of the regular season against teams they would be expected to beat on paper, but since then they have improved significantly. They have lost both games with league leading Thames Valley, but hold the edge over high-flying Newcastle Knights on account of their superior basket difference across the two games played.
In fact, while the 7-7 record Ipswich have would suggest they are a mid-table team, those paying the closest attention in the division will be aware that they are anything but an average team in this league. It took Kent Crusaders overtime to beat the Suffolk side on their home floor, and the other top four team, London Pioneers, edged Ipswich by just three points. The up and coming fixtures see Ipswich, on paper at least, in a position to build some momentum as the play-offs edge closer while the top four teams are yet to play each other a second time, so who knows what might happen with eight regular season games still to play.
“I think we can be one of the most dangerous teams come play-off time” – Head Coach Nick Drane
On Saturday, Coach Nick Drane handed a debut to another exciting prospect from the clubs junior programme. Veron Eze, who turned fifteen this month, becoming the youngest player to ever wear the senior uniform for the club. However, it was the usual suspects that did the damage for the boys in blue with Leigh Greenan again the games dominant player, while Caleb Fuller and Eddie Ferreira were in top form.
It was the late game play of captain Tom Sadler who sealed the game for Ipswich, after Liverpool clawed their way back into the game with just under four minutes to play, Sadler connected on seven straight points and came up with a crucial steal to seal the win.
“We were excellent again today,” said Drane. “I’ve been saying it for a while, we are in great shape. Of course it’s too late to worry ourselves about promotion but if we can be the best version of ourselves for the rest of this season then I think we can be one of the most dangerous teams come play-off time.
“Equally, there is a chance we would slip up again and the teams below us could skip above us in the table. it’s about consistency and resilience at this stage.”
On the day, it was Greenan and Fuller sharing the top-scorer’s job, with seventeen each while Sadler chipped in with a crucial fourteen points. However, Drane was keen to point out a total team effort.
“Colin, Rory and Cam all did great things off the bench today, there is a great feeling on the team at the moment,” he said.
Talking about the biggest crowd of the season the Coach added: “The atmosphere in the gym was awesome. We can’t thank the people in the stands enough for their continued support.”
Ipswich play the return fixture in Liverpool next Saturday before hosting London Westside on Saturday 4th February. After these next two games the league should really take shape as the play-offs creep ever closer.