Adam Robinson’s Under-16 Boys have placed 3rd in the country after a tremendous run through the Playoffs culminated in last weekend’s Final Fours.
Saturday: Ipswich Basketball 59-84 Haringey Hawks
Ipswich entered the National Semi-Finals as underdogs against Haringey Hawks, who, after finishing the regular season unbeaten, were looking to complete an undefeated season. Ipswich were up against it from the start and never really recovered from a slow start. Turnovers and missed scoring opportunities would lead to multiple Haringey fast break opportunities and Haringey would take a 12 point after the 1st quarter.
Ipswich managed to slow their opponents down in the 2nd but were unable to convert scoring opportunities. Haringey who were simply too fast and too big for the Ipswich side looked like they were going to give Ipswich a bit of a thrashing leading into the 4th as they extended their lead to over 20 points.
Ipswich stuck to this season’s persona, however, and managed to fight back and put some scoring runs together in the final stages of the game, but ultimately gave themselves far too much to do.
In the end Ipswich were beaten by a better and more physical side, who would indeed go on to win the National Championship on Sunday.
Ipswich’s underdog dream of reaching the National Final this season was over, but the group would have the opportunity to stake their claim for the bronze medal in the 3rd and 4th place playoff on Sunday.
Sunday: Ipswich Basketball 67-60 London Pioneers
Sunday saw Ipswich face up against London Pioneers in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Pioneers had beaten Ipswich both times in the regular season and Ipswich’s demeanour in the warm up suggested they had a point to prove, particularly after being halted the day before.
Ipswich were roared on by the travelling supporters which included the Under-16 Girls who had secured 3rd place themselves in the game beforehand. The noisy supporters made the court feel like a home fixture, as they had all weekend, as Ipswich rallied to early first quarter lead.
The Suffolk side led from the first quarter onwards but would never be able to stretch the lead to more than 4-points as both teams cancelled each other out on numerous occasions on the defensive end. Ipswich took a 33-30 lead into the half-time break in a game which was highly competitive.
The day before Ipswich without question lost the rebounding battle, but would control the boards throughout Sunday’s game. Led by captain Ethan Price, who arguably had his best second half performance of the season and would ultimately take his team over the line. Ipswich pulled away in the 4th quarter with Price hitting free throws at the end of the game to secure the win. This win capped off a memorable season for the young forward, and one of the best that any junior player has had for Ipswich.
He was not alone in delivering a strong performance, however, and Ipswich can hold their heads high with pride as this game almost summed up their season’s improvement. Every played involved played what has become their trademarked tough defense to limit Pioneers in scoring in order to seal the victory.
When the final buzzer sounded Ipswich had secured 3rd place in the country, emulating the girls from earlier in the day.
The result was a huge achievement for the boys and capped off an incredible turnaround from the team’s performances earlier in the season.
“The improvement the boys have made is actually quite unbelievable,” said a proud Coach Adam Robinson.
“It’s easy to forget we began the season 0-5. But what they have proven throughout the season is that they simply don’t give up. Even in Saturday’s semi-final, though we were well beaten the boys visibly kept playing hard until the final buzzer. I think they took that momentum and mentality into today’s game and simply didn’t want to lose. They’ve been incredible to work with and I’m so incredibly proud of them. They deserve all the praise that will undoubtedly come their way.
“From 0-5 to 3rd in the country is just an amazing achievement.”