Ipswich Basketball 77-66 East London All-Stars
NBL Patrons’ Cup
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball are through to the Patrons’ Cup Semi-Finals for the first time in three years after they defeated East London All-Stars on Saturday to finish on top of Pool B.
After both sides had defeated Derbyshire Trailblazers over the previous two weekends, both knew that only a win on Saturday would take them through to the semi-finals.
A blistering start from Ipswich, who saw skipper Colin Dockrell hit two three-pointers in the opening 70 seconds, put them 8-0 ahead before the visitors had attempted a field goal and John Ellis’ men never trailed.
Ipswich led 28-12 by the end of the first quarter, pushing ahead as Eivydas Aleksa and Veron Eze attacked the All-Stars defense and forced the visitors into early foul trouble.
Although the rest of the first half saw Ipswich somewhat contained, East London did little to chip away at the lead and the hosts took a nine-point advantage into half-time.
Ethan Price put down a two-handed dunk to break a slow start by both sides to the second half, and Ipswich put together a run behind a three from Ben Winter and more free-throws from Aleksa and Eze to stretch their gap back to 16 points after three quarters.
The fourth quarter opened with Badibo scoring back-to-back three-pointers to bring the visitors back within ten, but Aleksa and Winter combined for 13 of Ipswich’s 21 points in the final frame to pace the home side to victory by a comfortable margin.
Head coach Ellis is pleased with the progress his new core is making and the results are showing on court.
“Integrating four or five new players into a team is never straight-forward, but we are getting there,” he commented.
“In the first and fourth quarters particularly, the guys played some excellent team basketball at both ends.
“More than anything, though, I am pleased with our play so far this year on the defensive end. That was our major weakness last year, but we’ve now kept three straight opponents under 70 points.”
The Patrons’ Cup semi-final will take place in January, with the final in mid-February.