Ipswich Basketball 95-76 Essex Leopards
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball ended a run of four straight defeats with an excellent performance and a deserved victory over promotion candidates Essex Leopards.
Brothers Ben and Rory Winter combined to score 14 points in under three minutes, keying the game-changing run as Ipswich broke open Saturday’s contest.
Ipswich had emerged from half-time holding a one-point advantage and scored the first couple of baskets of the second half, but three turnovers allowed Essex to gain a one-point advantage.
Coach John Ellis took a time-out and inserted Rabi Rai into the game, and suddenly Ipswich came alive.
First Rory Winter connected for a three, then it was his younger brother Ben with another three and two fast-break scores, before Rory added another four points.
With Ipswich now firmly in the ascendancy, Colin Dockrell was next to take over, scoring ten of his 21 points in the final eleven minutes of the game to pace Ipswich to victory as each Essex attempt at a comeback was met by an Ipswich basket at the other end.
While the offense ran very efficiently, it was Ipswich’s defensive performance, undoubtedly their best of the season so far, which made the difference.
Visiting Essex were held under 40% shooting from the field and Ipswich’s intense defense forced 21 turnovers from Thomas Baker’s team.
The two sides had been inseparable throughout the first half. Wing Ryan Wilson scored in bunches for Ipswich as both he and Jonny Hall reached double-figures in the first half. Hall got the Copleston crowd on their feet with a two-handed dunk from Cameron Hawes’ behind-the-back pass.
Wilson top-scored for Ipswich with 22 points, while Dockrell added 21 points and nine rebounds.
Ben Winter (14 points) and Rory Winter (11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) also filled up the stat sheet, while Hall finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
“This was probably our finest forty minutes of basketball this season,” Ellis reflected.
“That level of defense is what we have been missing over the past month or two. To hold an elite team to ten points fewer than our average is really pleasing for me. Now we must carry that forward next week.”
Ipswich will hope to win consecutive games for just the second time this season when they visit relegation candidates London Westside next weekend.