2015 – Big Cats up to second place
The Big Cats moved up to second place in the Division One table with a comfortable 77-69 victory against Tees Valley Mohawks at Harlow, on Saturday. The scoreline flattered the visitors with Leopards holding a 74-47 lead with 6:32 remaining before they took their foot off the gas and allowed the visitors to close out the game on a 22-3 run.
Dave Ajumobi and Will Ashby led the hosts’ scoring with 15 points apiece, with Ajumobi adding 14 rebounds. Margai finished with 12 points, with Courtney Van Beest adding nine points.
The Big Cats started slowly, taking nearly four minutes before Lawrence Brown got them off the mark by splitting a pair of free-throws to cut the deficit to 4-1. But Ashby tied the score with trey and Ajumobi gave the home side their first lead of the night but with Romonn Nelson causing Leopards problems the game remained tight, and Nelson sent his side into the first break with a 16-15 lead despite failing to convert the bonus after a foul by Ronnie Baker.
Charles Rhodes made it a three point game with the first score of the second period before Mark Denchfield, and Leopards reached the midway stage of the stanza with a 25-21 lead following a Lukas Winegarner free-throw But the visitors hit back with a 7-2 run capped by a Foulds trey and although Van Beast made it a four point game with 49 seconds on the clock, Nelson halved Leopards’ lead to 35-33 going into the locker room.
The early stages of the third period gave no indication of what was to follow as Ajumobi and Nelson exchanged jump shots but Ajumobi then hit a trey before Winegarner drained a three and then blocked Lloyd Samuels’ shot to launch what proved to be the game-winning 16-2 run . Margai hit nine points, split only when Ashby scored from the Land of Plenty, and Winegarner’s assist set up Ashby to wrap up the run, and although Nelson hit a late trey, the Big Cats took a 64-47 lead into the final break.
Matic Zupanc opened the fourth period scoring with a triple, and Denchfield also buried a three-pointer as the Big Cats started with a 10-0 to make it 27-point game before the visitors rattled off 12 unanswered points to cut that lead to 74-59 with three minutes remaining. A single Ajumobi free-throw ended the run, and Van Beest’s dunk effectively killed off the game before the Mohawks scored the final ten points of the game.
Milton Keynes Lions 71 London Leopards 79
BBL Championship @ Bletchley Leisure Centre
1997 – Budweiser British Basketball League
One Health Sharks Sheffield 84 Playboy TV Leopards 86
2009 – Bristol Academy Flyers 72 London Leopards 81
EBL Division One
2010 – Leopards break losing run
Leopards 101 (33,56,82) Tees Valley Mohawks 94 (21,49,75)
LEOPARDS snapped a four game losing streak as strugglers Tees Valley Mohawks were beaten at Barking Abbey on Sunday. Carl Latham-Henry led the Big Cats’ scoring for the 17th time this season, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals before fouling out late in the game.
Marlan Henry added 21 points and Lukas Volskis 20 as Leopards’ back-court did most of the damage, and the hosts’ three-point shooting proved key as they hit 12 of their 22 attempts from downtown. Mohawks’ new American Nathan Connolly led the Middlesbrough side with 37 points, including 15 of his free-throws, while Great Britain international Steve Leven hit 20 before missing most of the second half with an ankle injury.
Greenan opened the scoring, though he missed the bonus after being fouled, before Latham-Henry drained from downtown, and with Chris Michaelides also scoring from long range the Big Cats rushed into a 10-3 lead just two minutes.
The hosts were still 17-12 ahead at the midway stage of the quarter, but the visitors repeatedly showed that were not going to roll over, and Unjum Khalid hit a two off Leven’s assist to make it a three point game.
However, five straight Volskis points made it 25-16, and with Henry, Iggy De Ferrari and Volskis all adding to the score in the final 80 seconds of the quarter, Leopards went into the first break 33-21 ahead.
Leven opened the second period scoring, and the visitors narrowed the gap to 36-30 in the first three minutes as only a Greenan foul shot troubled the scorers. Henry ended the drought and De Ferrari kept the home side ahead with a jump-shot before Laurent Irish hit a pair of free-throws.
Leven hit a long two to give his side what proved to be their only lead of the game with two minutes remaining, but Leopards finished the half strongly with Volskis hitting a trey and Latham-Henry scoring the final points of the half to send them into the locker room with a 56-49 lead.
Scores from Latham-Henry and Irish saw the lead grow to nine early in the second half, and with Henry scoring off Latham-Henry’s assists the home team were 68-59 ahead at the midway stage of the third period. Sam Richardson marked his return after five weeks out with a broken thumb when he converted a Henry assist, and Leopards finished the third period strongly as a Latham-Henry trey sent them into the final break with an 82-68 lead.
The Big Cats have struggled to kill off teams this season, and they again allowed Mohawks back into the game as the visitors – even without the impressive Leven – hit the first five points of the period before Volskis broke a three minute scoring drought with a three-pointer.
Connolly drained a trey to make it a seven point game before Henry scored from the Land of Plenty to put Leopards 88-78 ahead at the midway stage of the fourth period. It was still a double digit lead when Greenan scored a put-back with three minutes to go, and Latham-Henry looked to have put the game beyond doubt when he made it 97-85 with 93 seconds remaining. But with points difference potentially important in both team’s fight against relegation, Mohawks continued to chip away at the lead before a pair of Greenan foul shots wrapped up Leopards’ fifth league win of the season.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 26, M Henry 21, L Volskis 20, L Greenan 13, I De Ferrari 8, L Irish 6, C Michaelides 5, S Richardson 2, R Baker, J Wright, F Rinaldi (DNP)