Ipswich boys lose opener 60-51 to North Reading

Tiger Aaron Jessen (16 points) faces full-court pressure at North Reading

(North Reading) I took in the Ipswich boys’ basketball game at North Reading on Friday night in the Cape Ann League opener for both teams.

North Reading prevailed over turnover prone Ipswich, 60-51.  I have no specific stats to confirm the “turnover” part but the Tigers were guilty of plenty of them.

Credit the Hornet defense.  They seemed well aware that defensive pressure would be the ticket to victory and it was.  They pressed relentlessly and created basket-producing turnovers.

On the occasions when the Tigers broke the press they found some open looks that led to most of their points.  Unfortunately, for Ipswich, they couldn’t punish the pressing Hornets enough to get NR to call off their pressing.

The Tigers seemed to be their own worst enemy against the press: (1) numerous inbounding passes to the smallest player located in a corner where traps are easiest to set up, (2) backcourt lob passes into traffic, and (3) attempted dribbling through double teams.

On the positive side, the intensity and hustle was game-long.  This team will win games.  How many will depend, in my opinion, on their ability handle the full-court pressure that could well come their way in every outing.

Freshman Colin Smith (#44) defends Hornet Benjamin Makowski as the IHS students cheer

I did get a chance to take a look at the Ipswich “future” – freshman Colin Smith.  He’s 6’4” already and apparently is a basketball junkie like his sister Amber (freshman UMaine).

Colin had eleven points without looking for his offense against NR.  There is no question that the Tigers will need to find him on offense and protect him on defense as this season goes along.

I appreciated the efforts of the Ipswich cheering section.  They were loud game-long, and appropriate.  A referee having to call-out an Ipswich parent is another story.

I attended the game with the #1 Steelers fan in the area.  He had little to say about the Pittsburgh loss to 1-11 Cleveland on Thursday night.

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