Overtime heartache for Ipswich as London United grab victory

Ben Winter, good points haul against London United. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ben Winter, good points haul against London United. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

NBL Division II Ipswich Basketball 112 London United 120 (OT)

Ipswich suffered an overtime defeat at home after a fourth-quarter fightback forced a second overtime period of the campaign at Copleston on Saturday, writes Rob Schatten.

The hosts had rocketed out to lead by as many as 18 points in the first quarter, before visitors London United edged their way back into the contest over 20 minutes of gruelling, attritional basketball over the second and third quarters.

A fast start by Ipswich, fuelled by the defensive work of Veron Eze, Ben Winter and Steve Hemmings in a pressing defense over the first minutes of the game, threw off United’s early rhythm and resulted in multiple run-out scores early on for the hosts.

Jed Robinson was particularly effective in the first half, scoring 20 of his 23 points before the break.

Once they had settled into the game, however, United began to edge back into the game behind the efforts of player-coach Daniel Szatkowski and Yonathan Napolion, who combined for 27 of the team’s 48 first-half points.

Ipswich struggled to limit their opponents’ direct and rapid offense for much of the game, and entered the fourth quarter down eight, but showed impressive desire in staying close throughout the period.

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Still trailing by five in the final 20 seconds of the game, Ipswich were handed a lifeline when Ethan Price found Winter on the fast break for an acrobatic reverse layup. Hemmings then stole the ball from London’s inbounds pass, turned, and knocked down the three-pointer to tie the game. Napolion couldn’t score at the other end, so the game went to an extra session.

United got ahead early in the five-minute overtime, however, and, hampered by foul trouble to multiple starters, Ipswich couldn’t find their way back to parity.

Winter ended with 24 points for Ipswich, ahead of 23 apiece for Robinson and Cameron Hawes, who shot efficiently off the bench.

Szatkoswki finished with a game-high 29 for the visitors, having attempted 19 free throws himself, while Ipswich were awarded 23 as a team.

Due to some rescheduling earlier in the season, the two teams will face off in the return fixture this weekend.

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