COME ON: Ipswich Force captain Jason Ralph encourages his teammates to stay in the fight during today's QBL match against Logan Thunder at Llewellyn Stadium.
COME ON: Ipswich Force captain Jason Ralph encourages his teammates to stay in the fight during today's QBL match against Logan Thunder at Llewellyn Stadium. Franca Tigani

Early pain keeping Force aiming high

BASKETBALL: After watching his team lose its first two games by similar margins, first-time state league captain Jason Ralph was clearly hurting.

The proud Ipswich sportsman knows the new-look Force combination needs to get in the fight and scrap hard to keep pace with this year's Queensland Basketball League opponents.

However, after this afternoon's 104-86 defeat to Logan Thunder, Ralph was trying to maintain a positive outlook as the Force side prepares for the first of its away games.

"We're a young team. We have got a lot of things to work on,'' he said.

That includes improved defence in key moments.

"We're just getting killed in our rebounds which always hurts us,'' Ralph, 23, said.

"It hurts to go 0 and 2 at home straight up.''

After an opening round 18 point loss to Cairns, the Ipswich Force men were looking for a Sunday afternoon boost at Llewellyn Stadium to kickstart their QBL season.

They had already made a concerted effort to thank their fans and sponsors through a community event on Saturday.

"We don't have any issues off the court. It's just really what we can do on the court right now,'' he said.

"We know it will come. It's just when it will come.

"There is confidence in the group.''

As they did in losing 106-88 to Cairns a week earlier, the Force players showed glimpses of their potential today.

Logan jumped ahead 16-8 in the first quarter before holding on to a 23-17 advantage heading into the second term.

Ipswich fought half in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 35-32 after being 10 points down.

But after coming off two losses on their first road trip north, Logan rallied to go into the main break 46-41 ahead.

The third quarter belonged to Logan who took charge with their superior three-point shooting and consistent replies.

Every time Force made a run, Logan's big men had an immediate answer with Bullets national league player Mitch Young and Obi Kyei leading the basket battle.

Force recruit Garrett "G'' Hall and American Kyle Harvey toiled hard to keep their team in the game.

James Kuon was also committed in defence as Force gained another early lesson in their development.

Down by 19 points starting the final quarter, Force were never going to challenge the visitors.

But Ralph was already looking to next week's tough challenge against the Brisbane Capitals to continue his team's improvement.

"We know how to play them,'' he said, wary of their point-scoring ability.

"We have played them a couple of times already in the pre-season.

"We've got the team to beat them.''

State of play

QBL: Logan Thunder 104 def Ipswich Force 86 (Kyle Harvey 23, Garrett Hall 20) at Llewellyn Stadium.

Next match: Saturday v Brisbane Capitals at NAB Stadium.



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