Ipswich Basketball 90-86 London Greenhouse Pioneers (OT Result)
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball remain unbeaten on their home court this season following a dramatic overtime victory over London Greenhouse Pioneers at Copleston on Saturday.
A slow first half saw the hosts trail 30-35 at the break, but the game came alive in the second half.
After Ipswich had controlled the pace of the third quarter, and taken a one-point lead into the fourth, the home team slowly built their advantage to six on the back of important fourth-quarter baskets by Cameron Hawes, Quan Gill and Colin Dockrell.
The three-point shooting of Keavon Mackenzie kept Pioneers within touching range, but the guard had to leave the game after taking a hard fall over Ben Mobee by the sideline.
Just as Ipswich were looking likely to close out an important win, Luca Piccini and Dean Prosenica combined for three important scores for Pioneers and a couple of Ipswich turnovers actually gifted Piccini a chance to win the game at the free throw line.
The Italian missed one and made the other, sending the game to overtime.
Rabi Rai, who had started to make a significant impact in the fourth quarter, ran overtime for the hosts with five of Ipswich’s 18 points and three assists.
Despite Dockrell fouling out in the first minute, the five of Rai, Hawes, Gill, Jonny Hall and Bradley Potter – who scored the go-ahead basket with under a minute remaining before Hawes sealed the win at the line – found enough at both ends to close out a vital victory.
Rai finished with a team-high 22 points for Ipswich; Dockrell added 17 points and ten rebounds, while Hawes finished with 10 points and a career-high ten rebounds. Tola Okiki added 14 points and played an important part in the third-quarter run where Ipswich took the lead.
Mackenzie finished with 22 for the visitors. Piccini put up an additional 18 but was held to 2/12 shooting from behind the 3pt line.
“We had an opportunity to erase some bad memories from last weekend, and I was delighted with the way we approached today’s game,” said Head Coach John Ellis.
“I don’t think we really needed to make it that hard on ourselves, and the couple of late turnovers would have kept me up all night if we’d lost the game – but we’re still undefeated at home in the league this year, which is massive for us.
“Our defence still needs work but today we were able to get stops when it mattered in overtime and some huge plays offensively helped us close out the game.”