Sussex Bears 87-104 Ipswich Basketball
National Basketball League Division II
Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Worthing
Missing two starters and down to seven available players in the second half, Ipswich produced an outstanding team performance to defeat Sussex Bears on Saturday.
With Jonny Hall and Tendai Simbai unavailable, Ipswich’s front line was further depleted when Colin Dockrell pulled up during the warm-up.
Jed Robinson and Ryan Wilson helped Ipswich to hold their own down low throughout and John Ellis’ side produced an impressive offensive display powered by Wilson, Rabi Rai and Cameron Hawes.
“I thought our approach to today, mentally, was very impressive,” said Ellis. “We all knew we were short-staffed today but the guys we did have played their tails off.”
The first quarter saw Ipswich build an initial lead before Sussex got key men Tomas Seduikis and James Felstead going to end the quarter ahead 22-18.
Ipswich retook the lead in the second as young guard Ben Winter knocked down three three-pointers and the defense slowed Seduikis down. Ipswich led by seven at the break.
Winter took a knock to the knee before the break, further limiting Ipswich’s rotation, but impactful performances by Tola Okiki and Ben Mobee in extended minutes made up for that.
In the second half, early threes by Okiki and Hawes pushed the lead to double figures and from then on, with debutant Wilson increasingly effective and the team offense operating at a high level, Ipswich were rarely pressured.
Sussex did hang around until the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to eight with the first basket of the period, but Ipswich responded with seven straight points from Rai. From there on, Wilson inside and Mobee outside combined for fifteen points to lead the visitors to victory.
“It was great to see Ryan in an Ipswich jersey at last, and he was as effective as we know he can be,” added Ellis. “Several people have put a lot of effort into getting him registered this week, so particular thanks to Lorraine and Rob for making it happen, because he made a huge difference today.”
Wilson finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Rai filled up the stat sheet, adding 23 points, six assists, six steals and five rebounds, while Hawes tacked on 20 points.
For the hosts, Joe Carter scored 27, while Seduikis finished on 24 and Felstead had 18.
Next weekend is the Men’s team’s last home fixture of 2017, as we welcome Team Birmingham Elite to Copleston on Saturday for a 5pm tip. Please come out and show your support!