Barking Abbey partner club Kent Crusaders advanced to the NBL Division 2 Men’s Playoff Final with a 89-82 win over Ipswich on Saturday afternoon at Barking Abbey Leisure Centre.
Leading by as many as 18 in the second period, Kent seemed to be comfortably in control but Ipswich refused to go down without a fight.
They remained in striking distance through the second half, then a furious late rally, with back to back three pointers from Luke Mascall-Wright saw Ipswich pull to within two with 1:25 to play.
However, he was unable to convert on his next attempt, and Crusaders were able to seal the game at the line.
Amin Adamu led Kent with 17 of his 22 points in the first half, John Shodipo had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, RJ Eytle-Rock had 16, whilst Dan Akin joined them in double figures with 13.
“I thought we were great in the first half, and throughout the game offensively we were pretty good,” said Kent Head Coach Lloyd Gardner.
“We made a few mistakes when playing with speed that were uncharacteristic for us. Having said that though we just couldn’t shake Ipswich off, they showed great resilience, every time we got up they got back at us and that’s credit to their attitude and the way they play.
“We are delighted to make another final, after the disappointment of the Patrons cup game we have a chance of some redemption and to finish the season with a win.”
Caleb Fuller led Ipswich with 24, whilst Leigh Greenan had 21.
League winners Crusaders advance to face Thames Valley Cavaliers in the final, which will take place on Sunday April 23 at Manchester’s National Basketball Performance Centre at 11am.