Derbyshire Arrows 88-72 Ipswich Basketball
National League Division II
Queens Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield
A second-half rally came too late for Ipswich as they suffered a road loss at Derbyshire Arrows to start the National League Division II season.
23 points from Rabi Rai and 19 from Colin Dockrell came mostly after half-time following a poor opening half.
The Arrows were aggressive in getting to the offensive glass early on and built a lead based on second-chance points. The hosts racked up 48 first-half points and took a 22-point lead by half-time.
Ipswich had paid the price for their defensive energy level but showed a great improvement in quietening down the Arrows to win the second half by six points.
The game started slowly but Arrows were the first to make a run, stringing four consecutive scores together to push the lead out to double-digits within the first period.
After a brief response from Ipswich early in the second, with Jonny Hall and Bradley Potter getting quick baskets, Derbyshire made a succession of three-pointers and Slava Milak came off the bench to add a flurry of points to the lead.
Rai and Dockrell were the focal points of the recovery and Ipswich showed in the second half the offensive fluency which had been absent earlier.
“It is a shame our recovery came too late, we let them rack up a huge advantage early on,” concluded Head Coach John Ellis.
“In this division you cannot give teams a 20-point lead and then reel it back in – it isn’t going to happen.
“I feel comfortable that we generated decent looks; we just didn’t knock them down – but we will be working on our defence.”
Hall added 13 points for Ipswich. Joseph Baugh tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals for Derbyshire, while Milak tacked on 15 and Nat Nembhard finished with 12.
Ipswich are back in action at Copleston next weekend when they face Liverpool on Saturday evening (5pm tip). With Ipswich’s women’s team also in action next Saturday (3pm), there is plenty of elite basketball on offer.
The Suffolk squad also travel to Hemel Storm in the National Cup Third Round on Sunday.