Ipswich advanced to the NBL Division Two Play-Off Final with a comprehensive 76-60 win against a very talented Sevenoaks Suns team on Saturday.
Ipswich led from start to finish, exploding out of the blocks, building a 24-6 lead after the first period. Sevenoaks had no answer for Ipswich’s Great Britain guard, Ashleigh Pink, who controlled the tempo of the game and was scoring inside and out. However, the second quarter saw Sevenoaks get over the initial onslaught from Ipswich and find their feet. Ipswich maintained control of the game, but their dominance was significantly slowed – taking a 40-21 lead into the half time break.
The third quarter was the games most entertaining period, with both teams finding baskets easy to come by. Ipswich would again win the period, but with both teams hot from the three point line, Sevenoaks were able to find some confidence going into the games final act. Ipswich led 68-41 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter saw Sevenoaks enjoy their best period, holding Ipswich to just eight points, while recording nineteen of their own. The visitors played some excellent basketball while Ipswich seemingly took their foot off the gas. However, despite their late run, the Suns couldn’t make a significant enough dent into the Ipswich lead to make the game close. Ipswich ran out comfortable winners, 76-60. Ipswich were led for the third game in a row by Ashleigh Pink while Harriet Welham added seventeed and Esther Little recorded ten points and a massive twenty rebounds.
“I thought we did an excellent job today. It’s been a disjointed few weeks, and this was the first time we’ve been back to full strength in over a month. We knew that Sevenoaks were going to be a very good team, and they proved to be exactly that – but we executed our game plan well and held a very good team to just sixty points which was great”. Said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane.
Ipswich will now play in their second showcase event of the season when they face Derbyshire Gems in the playoff final, a team they have beaten three times this season. The National Final will take place at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Ipswich on Saturday the 28th April, tip-off will be 2:15pm. Ipswich are on the cusp of history, having gone through the entire national league season without losing a game, and also winning the National Cup, beating four division one teams on the way, they are one win away from a treble winning, undefeated season – something that has never been done by a division two team before.