Kent Crusaders II opened their NBL4 Season with a 71-69 win over Lewisham London Thunder.
In a tense game, with 16 lead changes, the win wasn’t clinched until the final buzzer, with a go ahead basket by Disraeli Lufadeju with 10 seconds left proving to be the ultimate game winner.
After Lewisham tied the game at 69 in the final minute, Lufadeju was able to get to the hoop to give Crusaders the lead. Lewisham pushed the ball down court but were unable to get a shot off before the buzzer as they stepped out of bounds sealing the win for Crusaders.
“It was a typical first game of the season,” said Crusaders Head Coach Jesse Sazant. “Considering we faced 35 minutes of zone and hadn’t even put our zone offence in yet, I’m really pleased with the way we played. We need to become much more consistent in our focus though.”
Lufadeju had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Crusaders, followed by Tunde Oyreinde with 14 and 6 and Robertas Vysniauskas chipped in with 10.
Kent Crusaders II dropped a tense midweek game to Chelmsford 80-76 on Thursday.
Having led for nearly all of the first 36 minutes, a late 13-4 run keyed by Lions player/coach Chris Michaelides proved decisive.
After a slow start, Crusaders found some rhythm and took an 8 point lead midway through the second. Chelmsford rallied with a 9-4 run to enter halftime trailing 31-28.
Chelmsford started the second half strongly, taking the lead through a 12-6 run. But 3 three pointers from Elliot Bailey put Crusaders back in control stretching the lead back to 8 by early in the fourth. Bailey’s fifth 3 of the game put Kent up 68-62 with 4 minutes left when Michaelides and Chelmsford took over to pull away with the win.
“It was a great game for our guys,” said Head Coach Jesse Sazant. “We showed in spurts how good we can be, especially offensively. We need to do a better job of not switching for stretches and staying positive.”
Jonathan Brown led Kent with 26 points, follwed by Bailey with 18 and Tunde Oyreinde with 10.
Kent is next in action Sunday when they travel to Folkestone in the National Shield.