Sport

American import backs Ipswich talent

HARD YARDS: Ipswich Force guard Jason Ralph has played a major role in his team’s state league revival this season.
HARD YARDS: Ipswich Force guard Jason Ralph has played a major role in his team’s state league revival this season. Sarah Harvey

FOR years Jason Ralph has been one of the most promising talents in Ipswich basketball.

But it's taken a combination with American import James Legan at the Force to turn him into one of the best players in the Queensland Basketball League.

Legan, who joined the Force this year from the Toowoomba Mountaineers, has nothing but praise for the 19-year-old guard.

"It's crazy some of the stuff that the kid does,'' Legan said.

"It's like he sees the plays before they even happen. Some of the passes he makes? I couldn't do it in my wildest dreams.

"Ralphy is one of the main reasons I wanted to come to Ipswich.

"Whenever you put a shooter with a point guard there's going to be a nice tag team. The kid is playing out of his mind this year, it's good."

After a rough start to the season the Force have won five straight.

Ralph is sitting second in the league for average assists per game while Legan is fifth in the league for points per game.

After playing two seasons in Toowoomba the Houston-native Legan will be returning this weekend to face the Mountaineers.

"To go back to the place where it started, yeah I am a bit excited. I'm not looking forward to the cold weather though," he said.

He said while he had a lot of good memories and friends in Toowoomba he had no plans to let his old team get away.

"I'm not going out there trying to take it easy on them. It'll be good to see some old friends though," he said.

"There's really no bad feelings to people up there, at least I hope not, it's all love."

Legan, who has played in the QBL since 2011, said after a rough start the Force was building towards a great season.

"This is by far the best team I've played for since I've been playing QBL," he said.

"We let a few games slip by, I feel like if we didn't go through those games at the beginning of the season those hard games and whatnot, we wouldn't be in the situation we're in.

He said the team was full of talented players, who all posed a threat to opposition teams.

"Just to have all these really good players around me and have anyone able to step up and score 20 points with ease is great.

"It takes a lot off my plate. It's a good thing because I've always been a team player.

"At the end of the day I'm always going to be doing my part but it's good to have a supporting cast around you."

Meanwhile the Ipswich Force women will be trying to extend their seven game winning streak to eight this weekend in Toowoomba.

The Force have won eight of their 10 games while Toowoomba have won only four games this season.

The game in Toowoomba will mark the first time American import Chelsie Schweers will return up the Range after playing with the Mountaineers before this season.

Schweers has had an immediate impact with the Force with the Norfolk, Virginia raised guard currently ranked second league- wide in average points per game, and in the top five in average assists and three point percentages.

Game day

QBL tomorrow: Ipswich Force play Toowoomba at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre in Toowoomba. The women tip off at 5.30pm with the men's game at 7.30pm.

Topics:  ipswich force (basketball), james legan, jason ralph, queensland basketball league




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