Team Solent Kestrels got themselves back to winning ways on Saturday evening as they returned to NBL Division 2 action with an impressive 115-77 victory in Ipswich. The win sees Kestrels improve to 6-0 in league play, keeping their undefeated start to the 2023/24 season intact.
Isa Brandon delivered another stellar performance with 26 points and 8 rebounds whilst Russ Gariepy added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Ash Briggs contributed 19 and 9 in the win.
Kestrels controlled this one from the opening tip to the final buzzer as they wasted no time building an 11-2 lead, to force the hosts into an early timeout. Isa Brandon would get going early as he found his way to the paint for a soaring one handed dunk and when Matt Hughes found himself wide open under the basket, he would convert to give his side a 19-2 advantage inside 4 minutes. The south coasters continued in the ascendancy through Russ Gariepy and Brandon once again, leaving them 33-14 to the good after one.
The sides traded baskets over the opening 3 minutes of the second quarter but that would do little to cut into the commanding Kestrels lead. TSK briefly pushed the arrears to 22 points after Gariepy converted a triple but Ipswich would reply to bring the gap down to 18. A 9-2 run to close the half however saw Kestrels get out to their largest lead of the game so far at 56-31.
The visitors used an 8-2 run to get the second half underway, that would be capped off by back to back Ash Briggs dunks, to put to bed any hopes of a mammoth Ipswich comeback. Isa Brandon continued his scoring form whilst Matt Hughes also got in on the act, before Sean Mulhern came off the bench to score 8 straight and extend the lead to 34. Ilias Taiwo and Shaun Mboura would connect for a rim rocking alley-oop to close the quarter and that saw the Kestrels take a 90-53 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Coach Guymon was able to use the fourth quarter to experiment with a number of line ups as he continues to find his best line ups, with a mix of senior and junior Kestrels. The TSK youngsters would close out the game as Nikita Ivanov, Archie Wellstead and Shaun Mboura kept the scoreboard ticking until the final buzzer, Kestrels taking a 115-77 victory.
TSK Head Coach Matt Guymon added, "It's always good to be able to go on the road and come away with a win. I was proud of our guys setting the tone and controlling the game throughout. Once again we got a number of contributions from the whole squad which shows the unselfish nature of the group."
Kestrels return to the SSC this Sunday (3pm) as they welcome Oaklands Wolves, you can secure your tickets here;