Ipswich move to 3-2 with win at Middlesex

Middlesex BC 76-85 Ipswich Basketball
National League Division II
Alec Reed Academy, Northolt

Ipswich dialled up their offense in the second half and pulled clear of Middlesex BC to record a first National League Division II away win of the season on Sunday.

Big men Jonny Hall and Colin Dockrell finished with 20 points apiece and it was Hall’s nine points in the final four minutes which gave Head Coach John Ellis‘ side breathing room at the death.

Hall finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, adding on three blocks, three assists and three steals, while Dockrell also played a key role, finishing with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Cameron Hawes had the hot hand early on for Ipswich and scored 10 points in the opening period.

Middlesex fought their way back into the game in the second quarter as both teams racked up the turnovers. Marius Ceponis and Arunas Giedraitis combined for 26 of Middlesex’s 33 first-half points to give the hosts a one-point lead, 33-32, at the break.

The second half saw the pace of the game increase as both sides began to find their offense. Dockrell had started slowly but put the team on his back after the break, pouring in 12 points in the third quarter as a late run pushed Ipswich into a six-point lead, 57-51, after three quarters.

Ellis went to his bench to start the fourth quarter, and Blake Read in particular made a sequence of big plays in drawing an intentional foul, creating a turnover then taking a charge all within the space of a minute.

When the starters came back in, it was Hawes and Hall who combined for 15 points, including one outstanding pass by Hawes which was smartly converted by Hall. Rabi Rai made two key assists to Hall and Tola Okiki hit important free throws within the final minute.

A three from Modestus Krasauskas briefly cut the gap to five but Hall scored twice to restore calm.

“We got serious in the second half and our bench production allowed the starters to close out the game,” observed Ellis. “I’m delighted with our fourth-quarter effort, cutting out the mistakes and sticking together to get over the line at the end.

“We’re 3-2 in the league, in a share of second place, and still with a lot of improvements to make. We know we can cut out a lot of the errors which are costing us possessions – this is not our ceiling.”