Ipswich Basketball 74-82 London Westside
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball fought from an eighteen-point deficit all the way back to within two points in a frenetic encounter at Copleston Sports Centre on Saturday, but couldn’t get over the hump against streaking visitors London Westside and lost for the eighth time this season.
After a subdued first-half performance, Ipswich rallied behind renewed defensive resilience and the hot shooting of Cameron Hawes to spark an impressive if ultimately unsuccessful comeback.
The early stages were dominated by Westside guard Marcus Anderson, who connected on eight of ten shots and scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.
Tom Sadler got going early with nine points in the first quarter but, with Leigh Greenan absent through injury, Ipswich struggled for efficient offense in the early stages, trailing 48-35 at the break.
After the break, however, the hosts found new resolve on defence and roared back with a 23-13 third quarter to cut the Westside lead to just three, behind seven points from Hawes and six apiece from Sadler and Caleb Fuller. Meanwhile, Anderson was slowed down by Rory Winter’s defense and Ipswich came together collectively to force repeated turnovers from Westside, especially in the final minutes of the quarter as Hawes started to catch fire.
Hawes knocked down four more three pointers in the fourth quarter to take him to seven makes from the game, but his teammates added just four points in a messy final frame, and the visitors had enough answers from Paul Yegba and Kayne Henry-McCalla to keep their noses ahead as the clock ran down.
Hawes finished with a game-high-tying 22 points for Ipswich, top-scoring at senior level for the first time in his career; Sadler and Fuller added 15 points and nine rebounds each. With Greenan in street clothes and a difficult offensive game for both Luke Mascall-Wright and Edson Ferreira, however, Ipswich couldn’t add enough from the rest of their roster.
Anderson also finished with 22 for Westside, while Henry-McCalla added 21.
“That’s a tough one,” said Ipswich coach Nick Drane. “Tough for the staff, the players, the crowd. We started 2017 at 5-7, but have changed a lot of things and found ourselves playing as well as we have in our six seasons at senior level.
“To have put together a winning streak and got up to fourth in the table was a monumental effort from everyone involved.
“But again, we seem not to get any luck. Leigh has been the catalyst of our recent winning streak and has been brilliant on both ends of the court, so we really missed him today but I thought the way we battled and didn’t throw in the towel was absolutely superb.
“Cameron Hawes was exceptional today; Academy players stepping up yet again when their number is called – that’s a major positive.”