2012 – Perfect Cup warm-up for Big Cats
Leopards 103 (29,44,83) Tees Valley Mohawks 70 (11,26,44)
JOHN Lister led the way with a season-high 31 points as Leopards had the perfect warm-up for the National Cup final with a comfortable victory against Tees Valley Mohawks.
Another large crowd at Brentwood saw a game that was effectively over by the end of the first period as Leopards closed it out on a 15-4 run to lead 29-11. Coach Dejan Mihevc was able to run his bench from the start of the second quarter, giving ten of his 12 players double-digit court time, with those ten all getting on the scoresheet.
Shooting guard Lister was in scintillating form, hitting seven three points and finishing with 12/14 shooting in just 18 minutes. Zak Wells added a 14 point and 11 rebound double-double in a team-high 24 minutes, with David Buchberger completing a good weekend with 13 points. Ousman Krubally and Vernon Teel each finished with 10 points in under 17 minutes, with the former adding nine rebounds and the latter an incredible 11 assists.
Mohawks were led by 25 points American guard Demarcus Berry, JeanLois Bomolo finishing with a 14 point, 12 rebound double.
Teel opened the scoring and Krubally kept the Big Cats ahead after Acho Anyigbo had levelled the score. Mohawks player-coach Steve Butler put Mohawks into a brief lead from the foul line, but Dominic Norton replied at the other end to put Leopards 6-5 ahead and they never trailed again.
Norton hit back-to-back treys to break the game open before Lister joined in the fun, and it was 15-year-old Josh Steel who wrapped up a 29-11 first period with a lay-up off Joe Lockwood’s assist. Lister scored from Land of Plenty to open the second period, and the first half lead peaked at 27 three minutes into the quarter as the Australian/Brit dual national again scored from downtown.
Wells wrapped up the first half scoring off Legend Robertin’s assist and although Copeland hit a trey for Mohawks, it was the Big Cats who took a commanding 44-26 lead into the locker room.
Lister scored the first seven Leopards points of the second half, with all three scores coming off Teel assists before the Leopards point guard mixed things up by providing the help for Lockwood to make it a 25 point game with two minutes gone. Teel continued to dish out the assists as Krubally spectacularly dunked and Lister scored downtown as the lead grew to 30 points, and Buchberger’s three points sent the Big Cats into the final break with an 83-44 lead.
The lead peaked at 41 as Wells opened the final period by stealing the ball and providing the assist for Buchberger to score, and although Mohawks refused to give us, coach Mihevc was able to give the youngsters plenty of court time as the Big Cats moved into the play-off positions for the first time this season.
Leopards: J Lister (31), Z Wells (14), D Buchberger (13), O Krubally (10), V Teel (10), J Lockwood (8), D Norton (8), J Steel (4),R Addison (3), L Volskis (2), B Wilkinson, L Robertin.
2017 – BBL dream ends
2011 – Leopards win it in overtime
Coventry Crusaders 76 (20,34,52,71) Leopards 83 (23,44,53,71) After overtime
LEOPARDS moved up to joint third in EBL Division One with an overtime win at Coventry Crusaders, on Saturday. They did it the hard way, letting a ten point half-time lead slip away against the strugglers, before dominating in the extra period.
Ousman Krubally led the scoring for Mark Clark’s team for the fourth straight game with 26 points, half of which came in the final three minutes of the first period. Josh Johnson continued his good post-Christmas form with 14 points, with Leigh Greenan adding 12 and Simeon Esprit 11. For the home side, big man Casey Crawford proved unstoppable at times with 33 points, but was given little support as only Siman Stewart and Roy Owen joined him in double figures with ten apiece.
Stewart opened the scoring for the hosts, but Greenan hit a free-throw to spark a 5-0 run from the visitors.
A pair of massive treys from Crawford helped the home side take a 16-10 lead before Krubally came of the bench to join the action, and the American forward scored all of the Leopards remaining points as they went into the first break 23-20 ahead.
Borja Pintor Henningsen opened the second period scoring for the Big Cats, and a trey from Ryan Alexis kept them ahead as they reached the midway stage in the quarter 30-26 ahead.
The visitors led throughout the quarter, with Keelan Cairns also converting from downtown, and a single free-throw from Greenan sent them into the locker room with a 44-34 half-time lead.
The third quarter again proved to be Leopards’ Achilles heal as they saw their lead all but wiped out, scoring just nine points.
Crusaders scored the six of the first eight points, but baskets from Greenan and Johnson restored the visitors lead, but they poor shot selection saw them fail to score a field goal in the final five minutes of the quarter as Coventry went on an 11-3 run.
Scores from Martyn Gayle and Crawford opened the fourth period as Crusaders took their first lead since the eighth minute, but having scored only three points in the middle two quarter, Krubally burst back into life with five points in a 7-2 Leopards run which them saw take a 60-59 lead with five minutes of regulation time left.
Payne buried a trey to put Crusaders back in the lead, only for Esprit and Cairns to both convert from the Land of Plenty to put Leopards 66-62 heading into the final three minutes.
But while Crusaders have only one win this season, but have been involved in plenty of close games, and they hit back with six unanswered points to take a 68-66 lead into the final 90 seconds.
Esprit hit a pair at the line to tie things at 68 with 40 seconds remaining, but Casey looked to have won the game with 21 seconds left when he converted an and-one after a spin move saw him fouled by Greenan.
A timeout from coach Clark followed, and it was Krubally who sent the game into overtime with eight seconds left as he drained a trey from the top of the key before some tough defence saw Crusaders fail to get off a shot at the end of regulation time.
Casey opened the overtime scoring, but that proved to be Crusaders only points until the final minutes, and six-from-eight foul shooting by Johnson together with baskets from Greenan and Krubally put the Big Cats 81-73 up going into the final minute.
Casey hit his third trey of the game, but Josh Sharlow wrapped things up at the line as Leopards collected their fifth win in eight league games.
Leopards: O Krubally 26, J Johnson 14, L Greenan 12, S Esprit 11, J Sharlow 6, S Esprit 6, B Pintor Henningsen 5, R Alexis 4, D Norton, L Olaniyi (DNP)