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6th & 7th Sept 2008

The Folkestone Saints 55th Anniversary International Tournament was held at Folkestone Sports Centre over the weekend of 6th & 7th September. Two French teams, Europale Wimereux and Entente Des 2 Caps, came over to challenge Whitstable, Sevenoaks and Folkestone’s two men's teams; three ladies teams were competing against Folkestone Flames along with Folkestone Saints under 14s juniors playing Canterbury Crusaders. Throughout the weekend superb basketball was played with some spectacular moments including the dunk competition, a high scoring men’s final and a 3 point competition.

Folkestone Saints A, Entente Des 2 Caps and Sevenoaks Suns were part of group one of the men’s competition. Starting the tournament off was Saints vs Sevenoaks. With an even game throughout Sevenoaks ended up as the victors 43-32. Coming over from France was Entente Des 2 Caps who soon made their presence felt with a 66 – 53 win over Sevenoaks and a 65-40 win over Saints, meaning they would enter into the final against the winners of men’s group 2.

Group two consisted of Folkestone Saints B, Whitstable and Europale Wimereux. Whitstable cruised through to the final with two very convincing victories, 77-29 over Folkestone and 79-47 over Wimereux. A position in the 3 rd place playoff was at stake between Folkestone and Europale. Although Saints managed to score 6 three pointers in the game Europale Wimereux succeeded with a win of 62-47.

Within the women’s group were some of Kent’s finest: Folkestone Flames, Sevenoaks Suns and Canterbury along with French based Europale Wimereux. Sevenoaks ran the show with three straight wins 66-20, 74-17, 54-19 and made it known that they were the team to beat in the final. Canterbury also progressed into the final with wins over Wimereux 49-42 and Folkestone 54- 42. Pride was at stake between Flames and Wimereux, Flames edged ahead to become victors with a flurry of baskets in the 4 th quarter, with the match finishing 49-42.

On the second day of competition, Folkestone A and Folkestone B teams were head to head in the 3 rd place game, both teams had a shaky start but as the game got going it was the A team who started to show consistency on both ends of the court as they finished the half 40-20. Fast breaks and team basketball was used to break up Saints B’s defence and once they started scoring they couldn’t stop with Zach Maasbach’s top score of 25 points leading the A team to an 82-37 victory. Sevenoaks and Europale were in the 2 nd place playoff. It was close range baskets and free throws that helped Sevenoaks make a substantial 40-25 lead by halftime. Sevenoaks hard work on defence and rebounding allowed them to pull away from Wimereux and finish the game 82-43 with Carlos Henry leading the scoring with 16 points. Anticipation for an exciting final was high and it involved two very strong teams: Whitstable and Entente Des 2 Caps. Consistent free throw shooting from Entente Des 2 Caps and a flow of 7 three pointers from Whitstable saw the first quarter come to a close at 35-34 in favour of Entente Des 2 Caps. In the second quarter aggressive defence from both teams and consistent long range shots from Entente Des 2 Caps allowed them to edge ahead at the half 58-51. An evenly scored 3 rd quarter meant Whitstable were still down by 7 points at 77-70. It was all offence in the final quarter and with one minute to play Whitstable had pulled back to within 1 point with the score at 92-91. Four missed free throws meant Whitstable had a lifeline. A risk was taken when Whitstable went for quick three pointers and the risk paid off with James Harris hitting two in a row as Whitstable edged out Entente Des 2 Caps 97-103. A thrilling display from James Harris meant he walked away with the men’s MVP, along with scoring an impressive 7 three pointers in the final.

Folkestone Flames were matched against Wimereux Europale in the 2 nd place playoff. Faith Frankis was the star for Flames in the first half scoring all 15 points meaning Flames had a 15-10 lead. Wimereux put up a hard challenge but could never get past Folkestone’s lead and Flames ended up as the winners concluding the match 29-27 with only one basket in it, Faith Frankis top scored with 15 points. Unbeaten Sevenoaks were up against underdogs Canterbury. Sevenoaks showed why they are a quality team when the started off the game with an 11-0 lead. As the first half went on Canterbury could not contain the pressure on Sevenoaks and the half ended an astonishing 51-12. It was a 39 point deficit that Canterbury just couldn’t get back from and Sevenoaks looked like they were in a league of their own, scoring basket after basket and making stops on the defensive end. With a final score of 97-28 it is clear Sevenoaks women have got some of the most talented players in the county. A. Deng led the scoring with 29 points and Fiona Hamilton was named the women’s MVP as she showed throughout the tournament that she was unstoppable, no defender wanted to guard her and no attacking player wanted her near. A truly magnificent performance.

Entente Des 2 Caps tall forward Maxime Lefevre was the slam dunk champion showing great athleticism and a series of flash dunks that couldn’t be beaten. Folkestone’s Paul Jessop became 3 point champion after a sudden death shootout; Paul showed he is still one of the deadliest shooters from beyond the 3 point line and a force to be reckoned with. It was a weekend to remember showcasing some of Kent’s top teams and the enthusiasm of the crowd and players involved emphasised how much of a growing sport the game of basketball is. Let’s hope to see more of the same in the near future



12th Oct 2008

The new basketball season opened in East Kent when Folkestone Saints travelled to Whitstable to take on last year’s league and cup winners in the opening game.

For the first time since 1999, the East Kent L eague has been split into two divisions this year, with Saints being Folkestone’s only representative in Division I. Disappointingly, for the first fixture of the season Folkestone could only muster 5 players to take on the team that is likely to be the toughest opposition they will face this year.

Folkestone got off to a good start as Paul Kennedy’s jump shot found its range early on to help keep them ahead for most of the opening quarter. Although they were overtaken in the final seconds of the period, the first of Zach Maasbach’s game high 5 three-pointers put Saints back in front early in the second. But leading 22-20, the visitors suffered a four minute scoring drought which allowed Whitstable to take charge of the game.

A three pointer from Ian Atkins closed the gap to 27-31, but his side were slowly running out of steam as halftime approached and they went into the break 29-42 adrift. As Saints’ only big man, Kennedy was having to contend with a constant stream of strong centres and with no substitutes available, his effectiveness was rapidly wearing down.

Folkestone were upbeat about their performance, but couldn’t find their rhythm in the third period, at one stage suffering a 17-1 run which saw them go into the final quarter 25 points adrift. Despite tired legs, the visitors recovered a bit in the last break, winning the final period 18-12, but by then the damage had been done as Whitstable recorded a 78-59 victory.

Folkestone Saints A: Z Maasbach 25, P Kennedy 17, I Harris 10, I Atkins 4, P Meston 3



19th Oct 2008

Folkestone Saints B team travelled to Ramsgate to play the Thanet Rhinos, hoping for a winning start against the newest team to join the league, but with a young, skilful and well drilled squad the new boys proved a surprise package.

With Saints B hyped and ready for the new season, they were stunned when the Rhinos charged to an early 12-0 lead. The visitors closed the gap to 19-24 midway through the second quarter, but Thanet ran off 21 consecutive points, led by the accurate shooting of their captain Nick Reed, who scored 23 points in the first half.

Trailing 45-19, Folkestone set defensive expert Manu Prado the task of guarding Reed throughout the second half. This tactic worked as he didn’t score another basket, but the damage had already been done. Saints play showed a vast improvement as the game progressed, with youngster James Lloyd taking 8 points on the break, but they couldn’t reduce the deficit, eventually losing 82-54.

Folkestone Saints B: Matt Bushell 15, Nick Lloyd 9, Dave Howkins 8, James Lloyd 8, Manu Prado 7, Nimmy Sandhu 3, Bob Simmonds 2, Ian Coulson 2



19th Dec 2008

In the last game before the Christmas break, Folkestone Saints B travelled to New Romney to play the Romney Rockets in a 2nd Division game.

Unfortunately, only 5 players turned up for Folkestone, so turning this game into their first win of the season became a very tall order.

Folkestone got off to a slow start, falling 10-3 behind before they found their shooting range in the 5th minute and matched Romney’s scoring for the rest of the period.

Stephan Eede opened the second quarter with a 3 pointer as Saints finally found their rhythm. With Paul Kennedy marshalling Folkestone’s zone defence, Matt Bushell took charge on offence and ran off 10 points in a 12-2 run that saw them take the lead for the first time, 28-25.

Although they entered halftime trailing 30-28, the visitors were now more optimistic about their chances, but these hopes were dashed immediately after the restart when they conceded 12 points in a row.

Down 47-34 entering the final period, Saints were sparked to an improbable fightback by the energy of captain Bushell, but despite doubling the Rocket’s tally for the quarter, it was too little too late as they fell short 50-55. The final moments of this game proved crucial as Saints not only missed 6 free throws in the final 3 minutes, but Eede, one of their main scoring threats, fouled out with less than 2 minutes left, leaving only 4 men on court which ultimately was not enough.

Saints B: M Bushell 23, P Kennedy 15, S Eede 10, J Lloyd 2, M Prado



6th & 7th Jun 2009

Folkestone Saints were hosted this weekend by Wimereux in Pas De Calais, which has been a successful annual interchange for 20 years. Folkestone's recent men’s East Kent Cup Winners were joined on the Saturday by league champions Whitstable, and Folkestone Ladies joined them on the Sunday.

Last year in Folkestone Whitstable were the only English winners; over this weekend the English triumphed in all five of their encounters.

Folkestone Saints Men started the ball rolling with a comprehensive win over Wimereux Le Portel. Saints had a slight advantage in height and also in fitness as they were fresh and their opposition had played a game already. Typical to the probing French style though, they were a constant running menace at the Saints defence. Unfortunately, for all their elaborate play they were unable to breach the Kent twin towers of Davie Drylie and Adam Earland – both six and a half footers. Meanwhile the English height played to their advantage in the opposing half as Saints moved from 23-37 ahead at half time, to a comprehensive 35-70 victory.

Whitstable – East Kent Champions came over the Channel also to play a rematch of last years Final against the French Regional Champions Boulogne. Whistable narrowly won last years encounter in a contest considered by many to be the best match played in East Kent in recent years; the rematch was not so dramatic, as Whistable emphatically won through by 40 points.

On the Sunday Folkestone Ladies beat a strong Wimereux - Le Portel team 58 - 45, using a time-out to turn things around after allowing a 15 point lead to slip. They then followed this up with another win against the Wimereux’s top Ladies team 58-49. In both games the Flames took advantage of the French zone defence to penetrate and score, while their own man to man defence created a high number of turnovers. Good shooting from the free throw line helped cpitalise on their dribble-drive offence.

It was a polished display from the Ladies who ended the season mid table but promise much more for next season.

Flames v ALO: Baptiste 16, Tutty, 16, Fairclough 10

Flames v Wimereux: Baptiste 16, Tutty, 12, Fairclough 12, Prince 10

Saints Men made it five out of five for the English Tourists as they won the Tournament overcoming the unbeaten Wimereux side, who beat Folkestone easily last year. Folkestone were never in trouble despite the excesses of a weekend away. Steve Thomas (14) joined Drylie (10) and Earland (25) in a 41-65 victory.

Saints Men Tournament Stats: Bushell 16, Drylie 34, Earland 45, Eede 4, Simmonds 10, Thomas 25