The Under-16 Girls played their parts to the full in an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend for Ipswich Basketball at the Final Fours in Manchester. A heart-breaking fourth-quarter reversal on Saturday would have spelled the end of many squads but Hayley Rigby‘s team regrouped in fine fashion to secure a national 3rd place finish on the Sunday with an outstanding performance over Sheffield Hatters.
Saturday: Ipswich Basketball 58-68 Sevenoaks Suns
The Saturday saw Ipswich face Sevenoaks Suns in the semi-finals. A strong first quarter saw the Ipswich side lead by 5. Sevenoaks fought back throughout the second quarter which saw a significant turnaround, and Suns lead by 10 going into the second half.
Ipswich came out fighting and were able to get the score line back to 6. Throughout the fourth quarter, with some big threes by different players, the Ipswich side were able to get the game within 1. With a strong run from Suns midway through the fourth, however, the Suns would pull away and advance to the finals by winning with 10. Sevenoaks would go on to secure the national title on Sunday in a more comfortable victory than they were able to secure over Ipswich.
Esther Little top-scored for Ipswich with 22 points. Susannah Rafiu added 12, and Ella Pearson and Cameron Taylor-Willis tacked on 10 apiece.
Sunday: Ipswich Basketball 69-58 Sheffield Hatters
With both teams exchanging well earned points in the first quarter, the Ipswich side found themselves leading by 1. With a strong second quarter at both ends of the court, Ipswich were able to extend their lead to 13 going into the second half.
The Hatters weren’t going to give up without a fight and came back strong in winning the third quarter by 1 point. The Ipswich team knew that the game was far from over heading into the fourth quarter. With the Ipswich team needing to find the shots through Hatters’ aggressive defence. The Ipswich side were able to finish with an 11 point win and claim third best team in the country.
“Knowing that as a team we didn’t want to be playing in the 3rd/4th place game, it took real character for the girls to play hard against Sheffield Hatters today,” said Coach Hayley Rigby post-game. “I’m very proud of what we have done together this season.”