2016 – Leopards spin to victory
Leopards picked up their seventh league win of the season on Saturday as Lancashire Spinners were beaten 83-71 at Harlow.
The Big Cats led from tip-to buzzer as a pair of three pointers from Ladi Brown and one from Will Ashby helped them into an 11-2 lead, but were made to fight all the way by a visiting side who have made a successful start to life in Division One.
Brown led all scorers with 21 points, with Ashby adding 16 points and Albert Margai finishing two assists short of a triple-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds Mark Rangeley led the visitors with 13 points and four rebounds, with Kyle Carey adding 12 points and Mike Bernard ten.
Ashby drained his second three pointer to make it a ten point game before hitting a third shot from the Lane of Plenty, and Leopards’ lead peaked at 31-12 following an Albert Margai basket with two first period minutes remaining But the visitors scored the final six points of the quarter to make it 31-18 before cutting the lead to 32-25 with a 7-1 run to open the second stanza,
Courtney Van Beest broke the run and finished the half strongly as Brown and Tom Martin drained treys before Martin stole the ball and scored on the break to give the hosts a 52-38 half-time lead
Connor Stuart opened the second half scoring for Leopards, but the third period proved to be a grind for both teams with only 24 points scored. Steven Gayle made it a four point game at the five minute mark before Leopards answered with a 6-0 run capped by Justin Hitchman as they went into the final break with a 62-52 lead
That lead was halved in the opening two minutes of the fourth period as Alex Roberts hit a triple and Connr Murtagh scored a jumper. Coach Steve Ogunjimi’s timeout had the desired effect as Hitchman hit two foul shots and Connor Stuart split a pair at the charity stripe, The Bury-based side cut the lead to six with six minutes remaining but Margai drained a pair of free-throws and Brown hit a couple of key jump shots as the hosts regained control and wrapped up the win.
2015 Leopards lose nail-biter
Leopards went agonisingly to beating Surrey Heat in the BBL Trophy on Friday before going down 69-64 against the full-time side.
A 21-11 fourth periods saw Robert Youngblood’s team force a thrilling climax before the visitors sealed the game at the foul line. United did the damage in the first period, outscoring Leopards 33-17 before Youngblood team settled an drew the second period 11-11 and the third 15-15.
Byron Richards made it a five point game when he hit a trey with 79 seconds on the clock and Lukas Winegarner cut the deficit to four with a jumper with 14 seconds left but that was as close as the Big Cats came.
Dave Aumobi led the Big Cats again with 17 points and seven rebounds while captain Albert Margai finished with 13 points and six assists against his old club. Former London Lion Kramer Knutson led Surrey with a 21 point, ten rebound double-double.
The home side weren’t helped by picking up an incredible four technical fouls thanks to some inconsistent refereeing but some excellent defence saw them out-rebound a physically bigger team 50-44 and force the visitors into 24 turnovers. What they were unable to do was defend the three point shot, with Surrey’s ten-from-23 proving crucial while the Big Cats struggled with the their shots all night – hitting just 31 percent.
Scores from Lawrence Brown and Magai gave Leopards an early 4-0 lead, but as the fouls suddenly racked up for Leopards – including an intentional foul call on Will Ashby – the visitors went on an 11-0 run to take a lead they would never lose.
Scores from Courtney Van Beest and Ajumobi saw the gap narrowed to 13-8, but three triples in another 11-0 run saw United take full charge at and despite Van Beest’s lare free-throw they went into the first break with a 33-17 lead.
A pair of Van Beest free-throws and a drive to the basket from Margai saw the Big Cats open the second period well but when assistant coach Roger Malpass was given a technical for standing up (he may well have been looking at his opposite number who appeared to have ants in his pants), the writing was on the wall.
Nevertheless, Leopards regained their composure and a Margai trey made it an 11 point game before another rash of T’s saw Ashby and Youngblood incur the wrath of the referees to allow to go into the locker room with a 44-28 lead,
Ajumobi and Brown kept Leopards in touch early in the third period, and Richards sunk a three to make it a 13-point game with 4:36 on the clock but an Elvisa Dushi trey made the margin 17 before Matic Zapanc reduced the arrears to 59-43 at the final break
Zupanc opened the fourth period scoring and Leopards whittled the lead down, with Ajumobi making it an 11-point game with 6:43 on the clock. As Leopards’ smothering defence continued to cause the visitors problems, scores from Ajumobi and Margai saw them cut United’s lead to 64-57 with 3:18 on the clock.
The comeback began to look a genuine possibility as Brown hit scored with 2:47 remaining to shave the deficit t five before Korry Callum hit a trey for the visitors.Richards replied from the Land of Plenty but although former Leicester Riders’ American Anthony Downing (who was held to just seven points in 38 minutes) could only hit two of his four foul shots down the stretch, the visitors held on for the win.
Still, who needed a Friday night in Plymouth?
2011 Leopards into the last eight
Leopards 91 (14,35,63) Brixton Topcats 77 (17,37,52)
LEOPARDS powered their way into the National Trophy quarter-finals with a 91-77 victory against Brixton Topcats, on Sunday.
The Brentwood Centre crowd were treated to one of the best individual performances ever from a Big Cat as Ousman Krubally came off the bench to finish with 31 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Mark Clark’s team will now travel to Division One leaders Bristol Academy Flyers next Sunday where they will face a team who have lost only once in 17 games this season.
Leigh Greenan also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, with Marlan Henry adding a season-high 14 points and seven assists, and Josh Sharlow chipping in with 13 points. Karolis Petkus led the visitors with 17 points, with Dave Ajumobi adding 14 and Paul Mundy-Castle and Marcus Knight each chipping in with 11 points.
The game was won on the boards, with Leopards out-rebounding the Topcats 50-35, although with Petkus coming up with four steals the visitors did force Clark’s side into 23 turnovers.
The visitors started strongly, with Ajumobi capping a 7-0 run, and it took until the 5:51 mark for Greenan to get them off the mark.
Six straight Krubally points dragged Leopards back into the game as they took a 10-9 lead following an 8-0 run, but it was the visitors who went into the first break with a 20-17 lead despite Krubally taking his tally to ten with the final basket of the quarter.
Krubally opened the second period scoring, and he scored Leopards’ first seven points of the quarter as they regained the lead at 21-19 after two minutes.
Neither side were able to pull away, though, with the biggest lead coming with 5:25 on the clock when Krubally converted off Sharlow’s assist.
But Brixton hit back with nine unanswered points capped by a trey from former Leopard Paul Mundy-Castle, and although Josh Johnson scored the final points of the half from the free-throw stripe, it was Brixton who went into the locker room with a 37-35 lead.
The second half proved to be a long-winded affair as it took 71 minutes to complete with 47 fouls called and 72 trips to the foul line.
The third period was crucial as the visitors were outscored 28-15, but after a tight start it wasn’t until the 5:33 mark that Sharlow gave Leopards a 43-42 lead – and they never trailed again.
Six unanswered points capped by a pair at the line by Krubally put Leopards 55-47 up going into the final two minutes of the quarter, and eight straight points from Henry sent them into the final break 63-52 ahead.
Much of the fourth period was spent at the foul line as five Topcats along with Sharlow and Simeon Esprit fouled out of the game, but the visitors were never able to make any real inroad into the deficit.
Tom Adorian made it a nine point game with 7:43 left when he converted a three-point play following a Greenan foul
Ladi Brown made it 75-70 with two minutes left only for Avelino Antonio to pick up a technical foul and the Big Cats wrapped the victory up from the foul line.
Leopards: Krubally (31), Greenan (16), M Henry (14), J Sharlow (13), J Johnson (8), S Esprit (3), B Pintor-Henningsen (3), K Cairns (3), L Olanyi, Z Wells, R Alexis (DNP), R Teixeira (DNP)
2000 Leopards edged out in OT
adidas London Leopards 96 (17,40,64,84)
Capers 32, Johnson 24, Kimbrough 18
Derby Storm 98 (22,39,38,84)
Stone 29, Evans 24, Lascelles 15
Dairylea Dunkers Championship @ Brentwood Leisure Centre
Derby Storm survived the closest of finishes to earn a 98-96 overtime victory at adidas London Leopards and stay third in the Northern Conference.
Neck and neck throughout, the Leopards led by just one point at half-time shortly after amassing a 10-2 points run. A further 10-3 run put the home side 62-52 up with 2:00 remaining in the third period, only for Derby to rally again with a 6-2 reply to close out the period. Another Leopards tear – 12-4 – put Bob Donewald’s men 76-62 up with 6:00 remaining in the match but a three-point play from Darrian Evans with 10 seconds remaining squared the game at 84-84 at regulation time.
Overtime was equally dramatic – the Leopards opening with a 6-2 run before seeing Dave Attewell, Brandon Brantley and Rashod Johnson foul out. With less than a second remaining and the Leopards trailing by two, Jason Kimbrough drew the foul but he missed both free-throws and the Leopards failed to grab the rebound.