Ipswich Basketball 88-93 Team USA Select
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball began their season in style with another high-paced, entertaining game against Team USA Select in a hard-fought defeat.
Having led at half time and by as many as ten in the first half, the hosts fell behind by double-digits late in the third quarter but fought back to force a nail-biting finish behind a late three-point barrage from Cameron Hawes, Ethan Price and Ben Winter.
Price shone on his Ipswich senior debut, taking full advantage of a mismatched defence to pour in 25 points along with seven rebounds and three assists. He scored the first basket of the game on a three-point shot, assisted by new team-mate Rabi Rai, and made his 25 points on just nine field goal attempts. Meanwhile, captain Colin Dockrell kicked off his season in fine form with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double.
The first half saw Ipswich executing well on the offensive end, while USA Select’s rebounding energy kept the game close as they created enough second chances to stay in touch.
Ipswich briefly stretched their advantage to double-digits, but a late second-quarter blitz from USA Select, behind two steals from Flowers and a half-court buzzer-beater by Winkler, reduced the gap to two at half-time.
The visitors’ shooting improved in the second as they begin to hit three-pointers at a higher rate, the American side pulled ahead by seven by the end of the third quarter.
Forward Jed Robinson scored eight points across the quarter break as Ipswich hung in the game, but continuing turnovers limited the hosts’ offensive production.
With two minutes left and still down seven, Hawes got hot from long range. The guard hit 10 of his 13 points in the final quarter, and keyed a comeback which brought Ipswich within three in the final seconds of the game.
But USA Select kept their composure and hit the required free-throws to seal the victory.
Veron Eze showed flashes of his potential attacking the basket and, after a long summer away with GB, now has three weeks to get fully up to speed with his new teammates.
Marvin Isefor, Mo Mahamoud and Steve Hemmings were the other Ipswich debutants.
“I have a whole bunch of positives to take out of this game,” said Coach John Ellis post-game.
“We moved the ball very fluidly, our defensive movement was good and we shot efficiently.
“There are things we need to work on, obviously some of the passing was a little loose and we weren’t good enough on the defensive boards, but overall this is a very encouraging first performance.”
Ipswich are next at home on Sunday, September 30th in the National Cup.