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Esther Little captains Ipswich Basketball Under-18s to National Cup victory

Ixworth’s Esther Little has captained Ipswich Basketball Under-18s to National Cup glory, as the 18-year-old adds to her growing collection of trophies and achievements.

The former Thurston Community College pupil said it was hard to ‘put into words how it felt’ to narrowly beat Reading Rockets 60-57 in the final on Saturday at the University of Essex Arena.

Little – who has already won the U16 and senior women’s National Cups with Ipswich, alongside several division titles in the National Basketball League – scored 15 points to go with 13 boards, in front of an impressive crowd of more than 200 spectators.

Esther Little ensuring that everyone on court understands what to do, communication is key. (28435586)
Esther Little ensuring that everyone on court understands what to do, communication is key. (28435586)

She said: “I can’t really put into words how this weekend felt. To win a trophy, with this group of girls is something really special.

“It means the world to captain this group of girls. They’re all so talented, and not one of them realises how good they really are.

“We’ve been together since U14 some of us, and been through more than anybody knows so that’s what makes it that extra bit special.

“We’ve been through a lot together. To have all the little girls sit on the bench, even if they didn’t make it on the court, this is an experience that’ll stay with them for a lifetime. We’ve fought more injuries than you could’ve imagined with this game being the first game of us all playing together.

“I know it’s a cliché, but it really has made us stronger.

“The girls have grown more than I could’ve imagined during the first half of the season (while Little was sidelined with injury), so when I was in foul trouble in the first half, I knew they had my back and the game under control.

“Nothing will compare to the Senior Women’s cup final a couple of years ago, but Saturday was very very close. Days like this never get old, no feeling compares to it. We hopefully have a couple more up our sleeves before the end of the season, so we aren’t finished yet.”

Ipswich currently sit top of Division One of the NBL with 11 wins and two defeats from their 13 outings so far; they do not have an U18 Women’s League team.