Ipswich Basketball 71-86 Westminster Warriors
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich suffered their first home defeat in Division II this season, falling to recently relegated Westminster Warriors on Saturday.
This encounter fully lived up to the basketball cliché of a “game of runs”, as Westminster built themselves a 15-point first half lead, Ipswich wiped that out to go up by a point by the end of the third quarter, before a blistering fourth quarter by the visitors saw them record what looks like a comfortable victory.
Coming off the back of two successive victories, a confident Ipswich started well as Rabi Rai, Cameron Hawes and Colin Dockrell combined to hit five threes in the first quarter, pushing the hosts to a 23-19 lead.
Florian Damptey and Nathan Ashley combined for 16 points for the visitors in the second quarter as an improved defensive effort saw Westminster break opening the game.
The lead was out to 15 before late baskets by Tola Okiki and Brad Potter off the bench helped Ipswich go in 12 down at half time.
In the third quarter, the hosts produced some of their best two-way basketball of the season so far.
With the score at 53-39, seven-foot centre Jonny Hall caught a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score, igniting the Copleston crowd and sparking a 19-4 scoring run over the third quarter which would see Ipswich erase their deficit.
Hawes scored nine straight unanswered points and Dockrell added another six in the run.
As the fourth quarter got underway, however, the Warriors had regrouped, and Ipswich’s shooting went a little cold while Damptey and Juan Manning were finding form from the three-point line.
When the two made three three-pointers in little over a minute, pushing the lead from three to eleven as Ipswich struggled to respond, Westminster had a lead to defend for the rest of the game.
Hawes finished with a game-high 25 points for Ipswich, while Dockrell added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the game’s only double-double. Jon Johnson paced the visitors with 22; Damptey racked up 16.
“I feel as though we’ve been riding a rollercoaster the last couple hours,” said Head Coach John Ellis.
“It wasn’t a case of too many mistakes in the fourth quarter, I think we just didn’t hit enough shots. They hit some big shots in the fourth quarter and took the game away from us, but I was very proud of our attitude having gone behind early on to produce that massive run in the third quarter.
“That we put ourselves in the position to come back and win this game is encouraging.”