2017 – Leopards fall to Blazers
Any lingering play-off hopes Levett Leopards held were ended by a 74-61 defeat by Derby Trailblazers at Harlow Leisurezone on Saturday, and the Big Cats now find themselves in a full-blown relegation battle.
For the second successive Saturday Steve Ogunjimi’s side produced an abject first half performance – scoring just 22 points on 19 percent shooting – and although they pulled within five points in the second half, once again they found the hole they had dug themselves too deep to get out of.
For all their injury problems, and without guard Dougie Bennett due to work commitments, the home side were architects of their own downfall against a Derby side who also struggled to find the basket in the first and third periods.
Having suffered a shoulder injury during Friday’s practice session, Darrell Bethune came off the bench to finish with 28 points and three rebounds But Justin Hitchman was the only other Big Cat in double figures with ten points , adding six rebounds.
Derby won the tip and opened up a 6-0 lead in the first four minutes before Hitchman finally put the hosts on the scoreboard with 5:15 on the clock. A Jamie Hayes free-throw made it a one point game but that proved to be as close as Leopards came as M Ward-Hibbert converted a three-point play, and the lead grew to 16-7 before Shaq Lewis cut the deficit to 16-9 at the first break.
That proved to be only a brief respite for the home side as Derby opened the second period with a 10-0 run to lead 26-9 before Hayes drained from downtown to end the drought, and although Bethune scored from the Land of Plenty to help Leopards match the visitors during the rest of the half, they went into the locker room trailing 40-22.
That deficit grew to 22 after two second half minutes before Bethune finally sparked the Big Cats into life with ten points – including a pair of triples – in a 13-2 run, and six straight Hitchman points followed by a Bethune score saw the gap closed to 52-45 at the final break with Leopards having outscored the visitors 23-12 in the period.
B Amabilino-Perez hit a trey to make it a ten point game with the opening score of the fourth quarter but scores from AJ Roberts, Tosin Oyelese and Perry Lawson kept Leopards in touch and a four point play from Bethune made it 60-55 with four minutes remaining. A Roberts ley-up kept the deficit at six heading into the final three minutes but back-to-back turnovers from the hosts followed by a Maxwell Morrison dunk effectively ended the game as a contest.
2012 – Trophy disappointment in Bristol
A poor performance in Bristol saw the home-town Flyers gain revenge their National Cup final loss against Leopards by ending their Trophy hopes at the semi-final stage. Nine years on, I’m still disappointed that this game ended our hopes of a clean sweep.
|Bristol Academy Flyers||24||15||13||17||–||–||–||–||69|
|BA London Leopards||12||18||9||23||–||–||–||–||62|
|Bristol Academy Flyers||BA London Leopards|
|Bowne 20||Teel 23|
|McLaughlin-Williams 15||Buchberger 14|
|Garcia 11||Krubally 9|
2006 – No Magic for Leopards
Essex & Herts Leopards 77 (21,39,58) Manchester Magic 81 (14,33,60)
A poor final 15 minutes saw Leopards slip to their first defeat at Goresbrook since September, on Saturday. The Big Cats had looked set for victory against a Magic side lying one place behind them in the EBL Division One as they led by eight points at the midway stage of the third period before being outscore 33-21 in the final stages.
Troy Selvey led the Big Cats with 28 points, but it was the performance of England international Delme Herriman who kept the visitors in the game with 20 first half points before being restricted to two after the break.
A tight first period saw “and-ones” from Selvey and Brian Moore plus an Errol Seaman basket helped keep them level after six minutes. Four straight points from Selvey followed by as many from Seaman saw Leopards open a six point lead, and a three-pointer from Dave Jones sent the Big Cats into the first break with a 21-14 lead.
Herriman continued to be Magic’s only real offensive threat in the second period as he doubled the ten points he had scored in the first quarter. However, seven points from Demetrice Williams kept Leopards ahead, and although a Herriman basket briefly put the visitors into a one-point lead, four points from Selvey plus scores from Williams and Seaman sent the Big Cats into the locker room with a six point lead.
Magic opened the third period strongly, with American Troy Sledge scoring five points in a 7-2 run to cut the Big Cats lead to a single point. Sledge scored 12 of Magic’s first 14 points of the period, but another trey from Moore and a Selvey put-back kept the hosts’ lead at eight at the midway point in the quarter.
Despite Williams picking up his fourth foul, the home side remained in control, and a long-range jump shot from Seaman saw the lead by five with two minutes of the period remaining, only to be hit by seven unanswered Magic points to give the visitors a 69-58 lead at the final break.
Things got worse for the home side as Gavin Smith and Matt Hogarth extended that run to 11-0, and although Selvey broke the run off a Williams’ assist, Magic’s lead was extended to seven following a Hogarth trey. Sam Salter’s second basket of the game plus five points from Williams saw Leopards reduce the arrears to two with 5:40 on the clock. The teams exchanged baskets until scores from Williams and Selvey saw Leopards draw level at 73-73 with two minutes remaining.
A trey from Kenny Roberts restored a lead Magic were to never lose, but despite another three-pointer from Hogarth, the Big Cats kept in touch with successful pairs of free-throws from Williams and Seaman. However Selvey missed both shots from the charity stripe with 1:18 remaining, and with Moore fouling out, Gergely Major sealed Manchester’s win from the free-throw line.
Leopards: T Selvey 28, D Williams 23, E Seaman 10, B Moore 9, S Salter 4, D Jones 3, R Lloyd, M Eames, J Warwick, E Gregory (DNP)