Bears scrape past Ipswich at Copleston

Ryan Wilson gets through the Sussex defence to get to the rim (Image: Pavel Kricka)

Ipswich Basketball 95-100 Sussex Bears
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre

A clinical first-half performance gave Ipswich a big edge, but it wasn’t enough to hold off visitors Sussex Bears on Saturday.

An inspired performance by Joe Carter, who finished with a remarkable 45 points, led the Bears in a second-half comeback.

Technical problems mired the second half, but was the visitors who maintained their composure, coming back from a 12-point half-time deficit to trail by just two points by the end of the third quarter.

While the indefatigable Carter scored 26 of Sussex’s 55 second-half points, Ipswich continued to execute their plays on offense, but paid for a lack of intensity at the other end.

Ryan Wilson finished with 33 points to lead Ipswich in defeat, and Cameron Hawes continued his outstanding shooting over the past month, pouring in 24 points on just 13 shots.

“We played the third quarter like a team trying to wind down to victory,” said Coach John Ellis after the game.

“We knew coming into the game that Carter was a major threat, he’s been Sussex’s leading scorer all year.

“In the first half, although he was still scoring, we were effective in limiting his other plays – we forced some turnovers and so on – but in the second half he just ran the game.”

It was a frustrating end to a game which had started so well for Ipswich. The Suffolk side were ruthless in the first quarter, scoring 30 points on over 60% shooting, and hit 10 three-pointers in the first half alone.

Hawes was on fire as soon as he came into the game, and Colin Dockrell, Rabi Rai, Rory Winter and Wilson had all connected from long range by half time.

Ipswich kept up their pace on offense but were less effective at creating open shots, and failed to stay with the pace of the visitors’ almost frenetic style of play.

The defeat leaves Ipswich in danger of missing the Division II Playoffs for the first time in four years, although one win from the remaining two games against Thames Valley Cavaliers and Birmingham Elite should still seal a post-season berth.