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Ipswich Basketball Men claim thrilling overtime win over Pioneers

PUBLISHED: 11:18 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:18 31 October 2017

Rabi Rai led Ipswich with 22 points aginst the London Pioneers. Picture: NICK WINTER

Rabi Rai led Ipswich with 22 points aginst the London Pioneers. Picture: NICK WINTER


NBL Division Two

Ipswich 90

London Greenhouse Pioneers 86 (OT)

Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Men remain unbeaten on their home court this season following a dramatic overtime victory over London Greenhouse Pioneers at Copleston on Saturday, writes Rob Schatten.

A slow first half saw the hosts trail 30-35 at the break, but the game came alive in the second half.

After Ipswich had controlled the pace of the third quarter, and taken a one-point lead into the fourth, the home team slowly built their advantage to six on the back of important fourth-quarter baskets by Cameron Hawes, Quan Gill and Colin Dockrell.

Just as Ipswich were looking likely to close out an important win, Luca Piccini and Dean Prosenica combined for three important scores for Pioneers and a couple of Ipswich turnovers actually gifted Piccini a chance to win the game at the free-throw line.

The Italian missed one and made the other, sending the game to overtime.

Rabi Rai, who had started to make a significant impact in the fourth quarter, ran overtime for the hosts with six of Ipswich’s 18 points and three assists.

Despite Dockrell fouling out in the first minute, the five of Rai, Hawes, Gill, Jonny Hall and Bradley Potter – who scored the go-ahead basket with under a minute remaining before Hawes sealed the win at the line – found enough at both ends to close out a vital victory.

Rai finished with a team-high 22 points for Ipswich; Dockrell added 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Hawes finished with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

Tola Okiki added an additional 14 points and played an important part in the third-quarter run where Ipswich took the lead.

Keavon Mackenzie had 22 points for the visitors.

“We had an opportunity to erase some bad memories from last weekend, and I was delighted with the way we approached today’s game,” said head coach John Ellis.

“I don’t think we really needed to make it that hard on ourselves, and the couple of late turnovers would have kept me up all night if we’d lost the game – but we’re still undefeated at home in the league this year, which is massive for us.”

Two Ipswich Town stars will be looking to take a big step towards this summer’s World Cup over the next week while a host of younger players look to further their international careers.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has been impressed by Ipswich stopper Bartosz Bialkowski following his first call-up to the Polish national team.

Luton boss Nathan Jones is disappointed to lose the services of midfielder Flynn Downes due to international duty but is pleased to see the Ipswich Town youngster continue his development with England Under 19s.

Fighting for a place in England’s World Cup squad might be tough work for Burnley’s Nick Pope but it beats riding a milk float in the early hours of the morning.

Ipswich Town goalkeeper Michael Crowe was taken by surprise when he found out he had been called up for international duty, but is determined to learn as much as he can while away with the Wales squad.

Ipswich Town fans want to see young defender Josh Emmanuel given his chance in the first team next season.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says Josh Emmanuel may be sent out on loan again next season.

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers hopes striker David McGoldrick has not played his last game for the club.

Season ticket prices, whether we’ll hear from owner Marcus Evans and manager Mick McCarthy’s future are the three big questions as Ipswich Town head into a two-week international break.

Did you hear about the Mick McCarthy press conference? He walked into the room, sat down, and apologised profusely to the loyal fans of Ipswich Town, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

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