Kent Crusaders Seal Promotion & Division 2 Title

March 27, 2017

It was a successful doubleheader weekend for Kent Crusaders, first sealing promotion to Division 1 with victory on Saturday, before then winning the Division 2 League title with a big win on Sunday.

On Saturday, Crusaders came from behind to get a 62-78 win over London Westside in London and in the process ensured promotion to Division 1 next year.

A poor start saw Kent trail by double digits after the first quarter, and though they began to chip away at it in the second, it was in the third and fourth periods where Kent took control and pulled away.

Amin Adamu led BA with 23 points, John Shodipo had 13, whilst Dan Akin finished with 12.

“I was really pleased today with the way we dealt with some adversity,” Head Coach Lloyd Gardner commented.

“We haven’t done well with coming from behind this season too often, first half we were in a deficit and didn’t play particularly well.

“Westside caused real problems for us, but I thought we mentally stuck with it, believed in what we were doing, shared the ball really well and made some good adjustments in the second half so that was really pleasing to see.

“It was a difficult situation for us and we got through it. We could’ve laid a lot of excuses out for why we didn’t win the game so it was really pleasing.”

It will mean Crusaders will return to Division 1 after just one season in Division 2, having been relegated after the 2015-16 season, a year after winning the Division 1 title in 2014-15.

On Sunday, Kent travelled to Newcastle knowing it was winner takes the NBL D2 league title on the final day of the season.

Crusaders once again battled back from behind to pull away in the fourth quarter to seal a 67-71 win, and be crowned 2017 NBL Division 2 league Champions.

RJ Eytle-Rock had one of his best scoring performances of the season with 30 points, whilst Amin Adamu had 12 and Shodipo joined them in double figures with 10.

“It wasn’t our prettiest performance of the year, but we put in some physical effort and mentally we were quite strong in a difficult situation,” Gardner said.

“We had a long journey up there, late tip off game, and Newcastle is the only team we hadn’t beaten this year so I thought we did a really good job adjusting, imposing our will and we used some good individual performances to help us through.

“Obviously, we’re delighted to win the league, to beat a team like Newcastle, on the last day of the season in their gym, is a fantastic achievement for us. They’re a great team but I thought we did a good job of slowing them down, it could’ve gone either way and we’re lucky it went in our favour.”

Crusaders’ attention will now turn to the playoffs, where they will open against Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows next weekend.