Coach suits up as Force struggles
THE Ipswich Force men were so short on troops, coach Chris Clarkson suited up for the first time this season in Sunday’s state league game against Northside.
However, even his assistance for hard-working shooting ace Brad Williamson was not enough to get his team home.
Williamson potted 45 points and made 14 rebounds in a gallant effort as Ipswich lost 96-87 to Northside.
That came after Saturday night’s 93-64 loss to competition heavyweights Gold Coast.
Already without Tim Behrendorff and Luke Cann, Ipswich lost their third big man Ryan Stolberg to a back injury before the doubleheader.
“Without our best three players, we’re struggling at the moment,” said Clarkson, playing for 16 minutes and scoring four points during his Sunday contribution.
“My purpose was to give more control to the outside guys.”
While Williamson produced a titanic effort, Northside had too much firepower to match without Ipswich’s usual offensive spark.
“We’re just finding it hard to find where our points are coming from,” Clarkson said.
Clarkson was also disappointed with his team’s defence against Northside, especially in the first half.
“When we thought we could win, to be 53-45 (down) at halftime was too many points for us.”
However, Clarkson is hoping Stolberg is fit for Saturday night’s home game against Bundaberg at Booval.
With both teams having seven wins and seven losses, Clarkson rates the Bundaberg clash one of three winnable games his side needs leading into the playoffs.
Stolberg is also closely monitoring Cann’s recovery from a rib injury.
He’s hoping to be back to face Rockhampton in two weeks.
“If we can get these three wins, I’m happy we’ll have some momentum going into the finals,” Clarkson said.
“But we need to get some consistency in our plays.
“If we get those two back, we’ll be back to four of our starting five and start to see our rotations click and offensive options click a bit better.”
The Ipswich Force women split their weekend games at the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.
After losing 79-66 to ninth-placed Gold Coast on Saturday night, Force responded with a 67-63 victory over Northside on Sunday.
Finals qualifiers Ipswich remained in the top half of the ladder with 10 wins and four losses.
Emma Langford topscored against the Gold Coast with 17 points.
Ezria Parsons (21), Amber Bartels (14) and Courtney Taylor (12) did the damage in Sunday’s handy victory.
State of play
The Ipswich Force men slipped to eighth spot (seven wins, seven losses) after losing both weekend games.
Gold Coast 93 d Ipswich 64 (Brad Williamson 15, Daniel Robinson 13).
Northside 96 d Ipswich 87 (Brad Williamson 45, Zac Compton 10).
The Ipswich Force women are in fifth place (10 wins, four losses) after splitting their weekend games.
Gold Coast 79 d Ipswich 66 (Emma Langford 17).
Ipswich 67 (Ezria Parsons 21, Amber Bartels 14, Courtney Taylor 12) d Northside 63.
Next games: v Bundaberg at Ipswich stadium on Saturday (women at 5.30m and men at 7.30pm).