The Kent Crusaders II picked up their fourth straight win with a convincing 84-56 victory over Folkestone on the road on Saturday.
A balanced attack saw 6 different players score in double figures as Crusaders led for all but the opening 3 minutes of the game. With the win, Crusaders move to 6-3 in 3rd place in NBL4 South East going into the Christmas break.
“We had a tough loss in the EBAL on Wednesday,” said Crusaders head coach Jesse Sazant. “The way the guys responded today (and again with the Under 18s on Sunday) was really pleasing to see. The balance between the growing maturity of our academy guys and our senior role models really worked well again today.”
After a slow star that saw Folkestone lead 2-0 after 3 minutes, Jonathan Brown and Tunde Oyerinde sparked an 11-0 run. The team traded baskets for most of the remainder of the quarter, with Crusaders leading 18-10 at the break.
Folkestone scored the 5 points of the second quarter to cut the lead to 3. However, the run was short lived as Crusaders then reeled off an 18-3 run, putting the game out of reach. Billy Beddow, Milo Gordon and Brown all scored consistently through the quarter. By halftime, the lead had reached 38-22.
Any thoughts of a comeback from Folkestone were quickly extinguished as Crusaders scored the first 8 points of the second half. Elliot Bailey came alive, scoring 8 in the quarter, with Beddow continuing to make timely scores. Only Jake Murphy scored in the entire quarter for Folkestone but his 8 points in the quarter weren’t enough to prevent the lead hitting 30, with Kent up 60-30.
The lead stretched out to 35 points through the final quarter, with big man Ollie Dykes scoring 7 in the fourth and Bailey taking his second half total to 16. Crusaders academy alumni Trevor Ikwuagwu hit 4 3s in the final two minutes for Folkestone to close the gap to the final 84-56 score.
Bailey led Kent with 18, while Beddow had 16, Gordon 11, Dykes 11 and Brown and Oyerinde 10 each.
Crusaders now have a month before they next play in NBL4 as the academy heads to Madrid for a 2 week Erasmus trip after the Christmas break. They will return to action when they host undefeated league leaders BC Medelynas on 20 January. Folkestone, who are now 4-6, host Richmond Knights on 13 January.