Drane dismisses promotion talk after Ipswich lose again

Tom Sadler led the way with 27 points at Solent

Tom Sadler led the way with 27 points at Solent - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Basketball head coach Nick Drane says he doesn’t want to talk about winning the league or promotion after his side lost their second straight game and fourth of the season against Solent Kestrels.

Sam Newman scored 20 at Solent

Sam Newman scored 20 at Solent - Credit: Archant

Drane also lauded the effort of his banged-up team, whose pre-season dreams of promotion now look to be slipping away following the 81-69 loss.

The game at Solent summed their season up in a nutshell.

Ipswich played some of their best basketball of the season in the first 15 minutes of the game – but sadly the team could not sustain that level of intensity and momentum for 40 minutes against an excellent Solent team.

Ipswich led by one after the first quarter but went into the half trailing by two.

The third quarter saw Solent extend the lead to ten in the final minute behind eight points in 30 seconds from impressive guard Ben Maranan before a three-pointer by Sam Newman (20 points) from inside his own three-point line narrowed it to seven going into the game’s final period.

Ipswich further narrowed the lead to four early in the fourth before a technical foul was called on captain Tom Sadler (27 points), which swayed the momentum back in the home team’s favour.

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Solent eventually ran out winners by a slightly flattering 12 points.

Ipswich’s season, which showed such promise in pre-season, has been hit hard by injuries and even harder by four losses, albeit against some very good teams.

Coach Nick Drane remained positive after the Solent loss saying, “We are still a very good team.

“Nobody can fault the commitment of the guys – to be frank, we just are not as good as we thought we were going to be.

“In part because of injuries, in part because of not getting the chemistry right but mostly because of the standard of the division this season.

“I don’t want to talk about underachieving in December. I also don’t want to talk about winning the league or promotion.

“There is a lot of pressure, a lot of which is of our own doing. I just want the guys to enjoy their break, enjoy their Christmas and come back and try to win a game. We will start with one game and go from there”

Injuries have played a significant part in Ipswich’s 6-4 record with professional signing Leigh Greenan desperately attempting to play despite it looking increasingly like knee surgery in going to be needed.

Sadler and guard Josh Johnson have both also missed games and played hurt due to injuries.

Drane added: “Our roster looks as good as ever but Leigh is about 40% fit and with hindsight perhaps I shouldn’t have played him in the last three or four games.

“Tom hasn’t been himself all season, even though today I thought his performance was nothing short of heroic.

“Josh was told he shouldn’t play for six weeks due to a dislocated finger and was back within a week so our three main guys are seriously banged up

“Listen, everyone has injuries. I’m sure other teams have similar problems.

“Loughborough, London Pioneers Derbyshire Arrows and Solent are all excellent teams with some very good players and are very well coached”.

The Suffolk side’s saving grace could be that several of the other teams in the division have played less games and in many cases, these teams have to still face each other. Loughborough, Arrows, Pioneers and Solent all still need to play each other twice.

Ipswich face Nottingham Hoods on Saturday, January 9 as they attempt to finally get one over one of the teams above them in the league.