2015 – Leopards provide the magic
Leopards made it nine wins from ten Division One games this season as they edged out Manchester Magic 70-61 at the Brentwood Centre.In a tight game, the Big Cats never trailed after Lawrence Brown had given them a 6-5 lead after two minutes, but it wasn’t until the closing stages that they wrapped up the win
Dave Ajumobi led 11 Leopards on the scoresheet with 14 points, with Will Ashby and Lukas Winegarner adding ten apiece and Courtney Van Beest having six rebounds to go with his eight points.
Joe Swindells opened the scoring with a trey for Magic before Byron Richards and Albert Margai made it 4-3. Swindells gave Magic what proved to be their final lead of the game buy a Ajumobi tree-point play put Leopards in charge and Van Beest sent them into the first break with an 18-12 lead .
Winegarner split a pair at the foul line to open the second period, but although Magic pulled to within two points four minutes into the second period, a Margai and-one kept Leopards ahead before a Ladi Brown trey gave the home team a 32-26 half-time lead.
Richards make it a seven point game with a trey early in the third period but the visitors replied with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 35 but Winegarner broke the Leopards finished the quarter strongly to as Tosin Oyelase’s free-throw put them up 47-41 before a foul from Mark Denchfield on the buzzer sent Franc Garcia Garrido to the foul line for three shot, and after missing the first he drained the remaining two to cut the lead to four at the final break
That was a close as the visitors came as Leopards opened the fourth period with a Winegarner jump shot and a dunk from Van Beest Magic made it a four point game with 4:44 on the clock, but scores from Dave Ajumobi and Will Ashby doubled the hosts’ lead and Ashby hit a dagger three with 1:27 remaining to effectively seal the win.
Jack Minister led the visitors with 15 points and six rebounds, while Ellis Cooper finished with a 12 point, 11 rebound double-double. The Big Cats did a good job of keeping American forward Ryan Lohfink quiet, limiting him to two points and as many rebounds in 21 minutes of action .
The home side out-rebounded Magic 46-41, with their 24 points off 18 Magic turnovers crucial as they kept the pressure on leaders Derby Trailblazers.
2014 – Flyers down Leopards
Leopards suffered their fifth league loss of the season as they went down 65-57 at Bristol Academy Flyers on Saturday, The Big Cats failed to build on a 20-16 first period lead against a side they had defeated the previous week as they dropped down to fourth in the Division One table,
Howard Crawford led the Big Cats with 20 points and seven rebounds, with Lawrence Brown adding 11 points and Kris Clark nine.
Ish Fontaine returned to the starting line-up and opened the scoring with a jump shot off Clark’s assist before a score from Brown and Crawford’s dunk put the visitors 6-0 ahead. Carl Josey completed the tear when he drained a trey before Greg Streets got Bristol off the mark with a three pointer after thee minutes and 42 seconds. Crawford got off the mark before Josey hit another trey to make it an 11 point game, but Tomos Okros became the third different Flyer to score from the Land of Plenty to launch a 14-6 run to close out the period and move within four points of the Big Cats. Courtney Van Beest hit a pair at the free-throw line to open the second period and stretch Leopards’ lead to six, and with Crawford slamming down a dunk, the Big Cats were still up by four at the five minuet mark
But the home side continued to have success from three point land as Squire and Streete drained threes to give Flyers their first lead of the game at 28-26 forcing coach Robert Youngblood to call a time-out
Crawford levelled from the foul line before putting the Big Cats up by two, and Taner Adu marked his return with a free-throw – his only point of the night – but Flyers took control with a 9-0run to close out the first half and take a 37-31 lead into the locker room.
Doug McLaughlin-Williams buried a triple to increase Flyers’ lead to nine at the start of the second half but Lawrence Brown launched an 11-0 run and capped it with a three point play to put Leopards 42-40 ahead with four third period minutes gone.
Spencer Wells tied the score again, but baskets from Crawford and Brown put the Big Cats back in the lead before Flyers closed out the third period with a 6-0 run to lead 48-46 going into the final break.
The Leopards never cut the gap to less than two points in the fourth period as the home side closed out the win.
A Crawford dunk made it 52-50 with 6:30 remaining and Clark buried a trey to make it a three point game heading into the final four and a half minutes but Leopards managed just two more points as Bristol closed out the win.
Wells finished with 20 points, while Streete had a 16 point, 12 rebound double-double.
2009 – Leopards hammer Crusaders
Leopards 96 (29,49,68) Coventry Crusaders 73 (11,34,60)
Hrvoje Pervan scored 38 points for the second time this season as Leopards returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory against Coventry Crusaders at Brentwood on Sunday. The Croatian forward narrowly missed out on a triple-double, finishing with ten rebounds, eight steals and six assists in 33 minutes.
Gareth Laws also scored well with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Leigh Greenan and Russell Jordan each added ten.It was a short-handed Leopards team, with starters Carl Latham-Henry and Lee McCarthy missing due to an ankle injury and virus respectively, while young guard Kenroy Wood was also unavailable.
With Latham-Henry missing, the signing of former England international Ronnie Baker couldn’t have come at a better time for the Big Cats, with the veteran point guard finishing with seven points and five assists in 23 minutes of action.
Greenan opened the scoring for the home side, before Crusaders player-coach Scott Neely replied with a three-pointer to give them their only lead of the game. Scores from Greenan and Jordan put the Leopards back into the lead, and six straight Pervan points saw Leopards open a 12-3 lead with ten unanswered points.
Laws added five more points after Ben Potts had broken the hosts’ run, and with Pervan taking his tally to 13 for the period, the Big Cats’ lead grew to 29-9 before a buzzer-beater from Wes Hall cut the advantage to 18 at the first break. Crusaders’ Simon Payne drained a trey to open the second period scoring, and the quarter proved to be a tight one with the visitors shading it 23-20.
Pervan added another nine points to his tally, including a last minute basket to break a 5-0 Coventry run, and Laws sunk another trey as Leopards went into the locker room 49-34 ahead.
Greenan again opened the scoring in the second half, and Laws third three of the game took the margin back to 20. However, as the home side took their foot of the gas, Coventry fought back and six points from Marcin Twierdzinski in a 12-2 run saw Leopards’ lead cut to ten at the four minute mark in the third period.
Laws broke the run with a pair of free-throws, but Twierdzinski continued to be a thorn in Leopards’ side with five points in a 7-0 tear as the lead was cut to 58-53. A time-out from coach Jon Burnell steadied things, and seven Pervan points helped Leopards go into the final break with a 67-60 lead.
That proved to be the last time the lead was in single figures, as Leopards opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, and a Pervan and-one saw the lead grow to 15 with six minutes remaining. Seven straight Laws points kept that margin intact before five points from Baker effectively wrapped up Leopards’ fifth league win of the campaign.
Leopards: H Pervan 38, G Laws 23, R Jordan 10, L Greenan 10, R Baker 7, R Gilchrist 4, L Volskis 4, B Wilkinson.