2016 – The Comeback Kids have come back
Against a physically imposing Rockets team, it was the smallest player on the floor who grabbed the glory as Dougie Bennett scored off Ladi Brown’s assist with under a second on the clock to seal the win. Even after the Big Cats had fought back from a big deficit, the visitors looked likely to take the win as they had the ball with 7.3 seconds remaining, but D’Montre Edwards’ shot rimmed out and Brown grabbed his tenth rebound of the game before setting Bennett up for the winner..
Will Ashby led a balanced scoring effort for a Leopards team missing Tom Martin, Connor Stuart and Evan Walshe with 18 points, while Brown finished with 15. Jamie Hayes took advantage of the extra minutes available due to Stuart’s absence to finish with a season-high 11 points, with Justin Hitchman adding nine and five boards, Courtney Van Beest eight points and captain Albert Margai six points and as many rebounds.
The Big Cats led for just three minutes, three seconds in the game, but despite being out-rebounded 45-36, they produced the kind of defensive display which saw them win Division One last season, forcing the big-spending visitors into 21 turnovers.
Such a win had looked unlikely in the opening stages as Rockets scored the first six points before Van Beest got them off the mark after 80 seconds but a pair of treys from Reading captain Danny Carter put his side 16-4 up with just over four minutes gone..
Brown ended Leopards’ drought and a pair of Brian Nguru points helped the Big Cats go on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 19-15 at the first break But despite struggling at the foul line, Reading opened the second period strongly with only an Ashby three disrupting a 15-3 run and former GB under-20 international Ben Allinson made it 37-20 with just under three first half minute remaining and Rockets took a 39-24 lead into the locker room at half-time. .
Brown hit a trey to make it an 11 point game early in the second half and there was little to choose between the two sides in the third period as, despite further treys from Brown and Bennett, the visitors went into the final break 57-46 ahead. The key run came at the start of the fourth period as Brown hit a pair of jump shots to spark a 10-2 tear that dragged Leopards back into the game.
An and-one from Hitchman saw the lead cut to 61-60 with five minutes on the clock before a pair of free-throws from Margai gave Leopards their first lead of the game with 4:54 remaining.
Van Beest gave Leopards their biggest lead of the game at 64-61 with 4:30 on the clock but an Antoni Robinson trey following by a score from Carter put the visitors back up by three.
Ashby hit his second triple of the game to level things with 2:49 left before Edwards split a pair at the foul line.
Hayes hit two foul shots to put Leopards 70-69 with 109 seconds remaining before Allinson levelled at the free-throw line.
Ashny hit a jump shot with 44 seconds on the clock, only to see Carter level and get fouled by Hitchman. But the English centre missed his free-throw before Leopards had a shot clock violation to set up the thrilling finish.
Carter finished with 23 points, while Robinson had a 17 point, 12 rebound double-double for Rockets. Allinson also had a double-double with 14 points and 13 boards but former Leopard Dave Ajumobi had a night to forget with three points, three rebounds, four fouls and four turnovers in 21 minutes.
London Towers 79 Greater London Leopards 83
BBL Championship @ Wembley Arena
2011 – Leopards through to semi-finals
Bristol Academy Flyers 56 (16,27,41) Leopards 78 (21,41,54)
A superb defensive performance from the Big Cats saw them power their way into the National Trophy semi-final, where they will now travel to Reading Rockets.
Mark Clark, Leopards’ coach, was a happy man after a weekend which has also seen his side take the Division One points with an overtime victory at Coventry Crusaders: “I’m really happy with the way we are working as a group. The performances from Keelan [Cairns] and Simeon [Esprit] at the weekend are an indication that we are beginning to understand as a group how to integrate Ousman [Krubally] into the team so we get better as a group.
“I’m also pleased with the way both our guards Josh Johnson and Josh Sharlow are leading the team. Even though we got away with the overtime win in Coventry it still showed that as group we are really beginning to trust each other.
“In addition the increased roles of Ryan Alexis and Dominic Norton, Lucky Olanyi and Zak Wells showed what a good development the relationship between Leopards and Barking Abbey is. The investment that the school, through our head teacher and Director of Sport, is another demonstration of what can be achieved with the right investment and the right funding models.”
Krubally led the Big Cats for the fifth straight game, finishing with 26 points, off 10-from-14 shooting, and 12 rebounds. After a quiet night in Coventry, Cairns stepped up to hit 20 points and add seven boards, with Johnson adding 13 as Leopards reached the final four of the Trophy for the second time in three years.
An 8-0 run from the hosts saw them take an 11-7 lead, but the visitors fought back to lead 21-16 at the first break, but that advantage was sliced to 26-25 with four and a half minutes left in the second half.
At that point the visitors stepped up with some excellent defence, and held the visitors to just one points during the rest of the half, and with Krubally doing the damage inside and Cairns scoring from long range, they poured in 16 points to lead 41-27 at half-time.
The onslaught continued in the second half, and Johnson scored from long range to make it 50-32 with 6:32 on the clock, and a Krubally basket made it a 20-point game at the mid-stage of the thirdp period.
A timeout from Bristol coach Andreas Kapoulas saw the home side tighten up their defence, and they cut the Big Cats’ lead to 54-41 at the final break.
Borja Pintor-Henningsen opened the fourth period with a big three-pointer for the visitors, and the margin never got below 14 as Leopards wrapped up the win, allowing coach Clark to run the bench in the closing stages.
Doug McLaughlin-Williams led a Bristol side missing Greg Streete with 16 points and seven boards. Tyrone Treasure added 13 points, while Davis Bowne had a 12 point, ten rebound double-double.
Leopards: O Krubally 26, K Cairns 20, J Johnson 13, L Olaniyi 5, J Sharlow 4, B Pintor-Henningsen 3, S Esprit 3, D Norton 2, L Greenan 2, R Alexis, Z Wells
2000 – Dismal lose in Scotland
Edinburgh Rocks 76 (22,38,50)
Berry 20, Burns 14, Maclean/New 12
Meadowbank Sports Centre @ Dairylea Dunkers Championship
adidas London Leopards 55 (12,20,38)
Kimbrough 23, Capers/Brantley 10
Ted Berry led the Edinburgh Rocks to a 76-55 home win against adidas London Leopards in the Dairylea Dunkers Championship.
Leopards had an early lead at 6-2 after the first couple of minutes, but then the home side found their stride and a 19-4 run straddling the first/second quarter break saw Rocks take a 29-14 lead. Leopards rallied at the start of the second half, scoring 11 straight points as Rocks were kept scoreless for more than five minutes. However, a 12-3 run in the final period extended the Scots lead and not even 23 points from Jason Kimbrough could prevent the Leopards falling to defeat.