2015 – Leopards go top
Leopards went top of NBL Division One as they defeated Kent Crusaders 66-55 in front of a big crowd at Harlow Leisure on Saturday. The Big Cats overcame a slow start to improve their record to 10-2 at the midway stage of the league campaign as third placed Crusaders were consigned to their second defeat of the campaign.
Will Ashby sunk four of his six three point attempts on the way to a game-high 16 points, adding five rebounds and two assists.Courtney Van Beest added 14 points and six boards, with Byron Richards (12) and Albert Margai (11) also finishing in double figures while Dave Ajumobi added nine points, five rebounds and three assists as Robert Youngblood’s side inflicted Kent’s second league defeat of the season.
Adetola Akomolafe – the only non-Barking Abbey player in the Kent line-up – led the visitors with an impressive 14 point, 16 rebound double-double while former Leopard Josh Steel finished with 11 points, four boards and three assists.
Leopards started poorly as Nathan Smith opened the scoring and the visitors rushed into a 9-0 lead. It took nearly four minutes before Ashby’s first triple of the night got them on the scoresheet, but the home side still trailed 13-5 with two first period minutes remaining.
Captain Margai finally got the home side going with a trey, and Van Beest capped a 10-0 run to send Leopards into the first break with a 15-13 lead. Scores from Ladi Brown and Van Beest extended that run to 14-0, and although former Leopards Duane Orija tied the score at 19, the Big Cats responded with a 10-2 run to take command and Van Beest’s basket sent them into the locker room with a 29-25 half-time lead .
Richards and Akomolafe exchanged treys to open the third period, but Oria and Akomolafe tied the scores and Steel briefly put the visitors ahead midway through the third period.But Ashby and Ajumobi hit treys in a 14-0 run as Leopards’ answered in devastating style, and they led 48-40 at the final break. A three-point Steel play saw Leopards’ lead cut to five points at the start of the fourth period but that was as close as the visitors came, and five straight Ashby points took the advantage out to 13 with five minutes left as the Big Cats never looked back.
2010 – Leopards downed by Jets
Cheshire Jets 99 (27,54,75) Leopards 57 (17,26,43)
LEOPARDS found full-time professionals Cheshire Jets too strong on Sunday as they went out of the BBL Trophy with a 99-57 defeat. The Big Cats were without Marlan Henry (work), Sam Richardson (broken thumb), Francesco Rinaldi (shin injury) and while player-assistant coach Ronnie Baker kitted up, he did not play due to illness.
With only seven fit players, the visitors never got going – and Jets were always in control after scoring the first nine points of the game. John Simpson opened the scoring for the home side from behind the arc, and it took until the three and half minute mark for Leopards to break their duck when Lukas Volskis drained a three-pointer.
The hosts led 27-17 at the first break having blitzed the Big Cats from downtown, and dominated the second period with another barrage of three-pointers as they outscored Leopards 28-9 – including a 16-2 run – to take an almost unassailable 54-26 half-time lead.
With Carl Latham-Henry leading the way with 15 points, three assists and as many steals in 38 minutes of action, Leopards did a good limitation job in the third period as they slowed down the home side’s scoring- including a three minute period where they were held scoreless.
But having trailed 75-43 at the final break, the short-handed visitors noticeably tired in the fourth period and were outscored 24-14. Jonny Wright made an impact as he came on, hitting five points in a 7-0 burst as Leopards narrowed the gap, but the loss still goes down as the second biggest in their history.
Laurent Irish and Ignazio De Ferrari each scored 11 points for the Big Cats, while Leigh Greenan added ten points and eight rebounds as he played for all of the game bar the final 15 seconds. Jerrah Young led the hosts with a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds, while John Simpson had 16 and Colin O’Reilly added 12.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 15, L Irish 11, I De Ferrari 11, L Greenan 10, J Wright 5, L Volskis 5, C Michaelides, R Baker (DNP)