Doncaster Panthers 87 Leopards 104
Budweiser British Basketball League
2017 – Stormy night for Leopards
2011 – Leopards end Flyers’ record
Bristol Academy Flyers 51 (12,28,37) Leopards 80 (24,39,65)
A dominant second half performance saw Leopards end Bristol Academy Flyers’ perfect start to the season, on Saturday. The Big Cats outscored the Division One leaders 41-23 after the interval, and crucially now have the head-to-head decider against the Flyers if the teams finish level at the season’s end.
Ousman Krubally led the scoring for Mark Clark’s team for a seventh straight game with 23 points and 16 rebounds in a season-high 32 minutes. But it was the first half performance from Barking Abbey pair Simeon Esprit and Keelan Cairns which laid the foundations for the win. They each only scored two points in the second half, but Esprit had 15 in the first half and Cairns eight to keep the visitors in front.
The Flyers, who were without Tyrone Treasure and Doug McLaughlin-Williams, never led and were out-rebounded 54-30 by the visiting side who have now won five straight games.
Leigh Greenan opened the scoring for Leopards, and they opened a 5-0 lead before Flyers scored five unanswered points – their biggest run of the night – to tie the game for the only time. Back-to-back treys from Esprit saw the Big Cats open a 13 point lead with three minutes of the period remaining, and despite a straight travelling call on Borja Pintor Henningsen, Clark’s team went into the first break 24-12 ahead.
The second period was a turgid affair with neither side getting into rhythm, but Leopards held a’ double-digit for most of the quarter, with Esprit answering Flyers’ four point burst with a trey, and they went into the locker room 39-28 ahead.
Clark’s half-time team-talk had the desired effect, and after Josh Sharlow had hit a pair at the line following a technical foul on Flyers’ coach Andreas Kapoulas, Krubally finally got going as he scored from inside to make it 49-33 and force a Bristol timeout with 5:14 on the clock. The move made little difference as Krubally converted an and-one and Sharlow scored on the break after a steal from Greenan as the Big Cats poured in the final 14 points of the quarter to go into the fourth period with a commanding 65-37 lead.
That lead grew to 30 as Marlan Henry scored two at the foul stripe after Davis Bown picked up a technical foul, and the lead peaked at 36 when Esprit dunked on the break with 5:53 on the clock. Both coaches ran their bench after that, with Ryan Alexis and Lucky Olaniyi both getting some valuable court time as Leopards wrapped up their biggest win of the season.
Leopards: O Krubally (23), S Esprit (18), K Cairns (10), M Henry (7), B Pintor Henningsen (6), J Johnson (5), J Sharlow (5), L Greenan (4), L Olaniyi (2), R Alexis
2007 – Stars stun lethargic Leopards
Solent Stars 89 (22,50,67) Leopards 87 (23,49.66)
The trip to Solent saw Leopards face a side who hadn’t been in action on Saturday evening, but the visitors opened strongly and four points apiece from Campbell and Fowler saw them lead 8-0 after three minutes.
However, that was as good as it got for Jon Burnell’s team, with only Campbell who top scored with 21 points and 16 rebounds producing a decent performance. They were not helped by Errol Seaman only being able to play limited minutes after leaving the action the previous evening with a knee injury.
Five straight points from Stars’ Antonio Bright cut the lead to a point in the final minute of the period, and although Ogilvie replied with a trey, Ben Stanley did likewise for the home side to send Leopards into the final break leading by one.
The second period following similar pattern to the latter minutes of the first, with the game scrappy and ugly. The visitors did not help themselves with some poor free-throw shooting, finishing the game with just 11 from 28 charity shots, with Ogilvie having a particularly poor night at the line – scoring just four of his 15 attempts. Leopards trailed 48-43 with a minute of the half remaining, but six straight points from Fowler, including a buzzer beating three, saw Solent’s lead cut to one at half-time.
Things did not improve after the half-time break, with the visitors continuing to look lethargic and neither side were able to make any decisive run as they shared 34 points to send Solent into the final break with a one point lead.
The game had been marred by some inconsistent refereeing decisions, but Leopards were definitely penalised three minutes into the final period when a technical foul was called on the bench following a comment made from someone in the crowd sitting behind the players, and Earl Moore converted four straight free-throws to give Stars a 76-70 lead.
Despite that, Leopards still had plenty of chances to win, and responded well to the technical foul with a 9-2 run, thanks to scores from Ogilvie, Ikhinmwin and Campbell to take an 81-77 lead with three minutes remaining. A pair of Ikhinmwin free-throws with 70 seconds remaining put Leopards three-up, but that proved to be the final time they scored. An inability to avoid turning the ball over proved key, and with 9.2 seconds remaining they were level at 87.
However, Ikhinmwin needlessly fouled Nick O’Harabe after a scramble which had ended with the ball in Fowler’s hands and after O’Harabe had sunk both free-throws, a scrappy final possession saw the Big Cats unable to get a worthwhile shot off as they suffered arguably their worst defeat of the season.
Leopards: J Campbell 21, C Fowler 19, D Ogilvie 19, J Ikhinmwin 17, E Seaman 6, J Nicholson 5, S Salter, L Gardner, J Burnell (DNP)
2006 – Leopards winning streak ends
Worthing Thunder 122 (25,52,77) Essex & Herts Leopards 99 (25,52,87)
A dismal run at the start of the third quarter cost Leopards dearly as their seven game winning run came to an end, on Saturday. The Big Cats were outscored 20-2 during a manic three minute spell, and they were never able to make up the deficit against the joint league leaders.
The run was in direct contrast to the first half, where the sides had exchanged baskets in the high-scoring encounter. The visitors were given an early indication of the threat Alfredo Ott would present as he scored Thunder’s first five points, but five points from Sam Salter off a pair of Demetrice Williams assists saw Leopards take their first lead at 8-7.
The teams exchanged points, with Troy Selvey proving unstoppable in the paint, and although Worthing went on a 7-2 run to lead by five, a Selvey put-back and a three-pointer from Dave Jones sent them into the first break tied at 25-25. The second period continued in the same fashion, with Selvey scoring Leopards first six points as the teams remained deadlocked at 31-31 after three minutes.
Another trey from Salter plus three-from-four foul shooting by James Warwick and a Dave Jones jump-shot kept level at 41 by the midway stage of the period, but Leopards suffered a blow when Selvey picked up his third foul, and was forced to sit down for the final 3:44 of the half. A Salter basket off Errol Seaman’s assist and a Jones three-pointer gave Leopards what proved to be their biggest lead of the game at 49-45, but despite a free-throw and a put-back by Roger Lloyd, a later score from Pat Bates sent the two teams in level at the break.
Seaman restored the visitors’ lead with the first score of the second half, but when Selvey returned to the bench after collecting his fourth foul, things rapidly deteriorated for the Big Cats. Ott converted the bonus shot off Selvey’s foul, and Steven Gayle also scored a pair of “and-ones” as Salter joined Selvey on four fouls. After Lloyd had been T’d after an altercation with Okolie Ogbana, the run was finally ended by a score from Jones, but with the home side leading by 16, the damage had been done. Worthing’s American forward Jonathan Woods also collected a technical foul, and treys from Jones and Brian Moore saw the lead cut to 11.
A pair of free-throws from Ogbana saw the lead go back up to 14, but a pair of Jones baskets and a Williams score saw the Worthing lead cut to ten at the final break. Any chances of a comeback were effectively ended seven seconds into the final period, as a bizarre foul call on Tom Christie – making his comeback after a year with the British Rowing Team – saw coach Jon Burnell receive a technical foul, and with Ott converting three of the free-throws and scoring on the inbounds, Thunder’s lead went up to 15
The Big Cats never got within ten again, despite Williams adding 12 points to take his tally to a club record 33, as Selvey and Moore both fouled out. Salter joined the pair on the bench after collecting the game’s fourth technical foul for disputing Moore’s fifth foul, as Leopards saw their winning streak come to an abrupt end.
Leopards: D Williams 33, T Selvey 22, D Jones 11, E Seaman 10, S Salter 10, B Moore 3, J Warwick 3, R Lloyd 3, T Christie 3, E Gregory 1, M Eames.