2019 – Tough loss for Leopards
A good first half performance wasn’t enough for Leopards as they came up short against title contenders Worthing Thunder on Saturday, with the south coast side shading an exciting game 94-90.
Big man Lee Hodges was in scintilating form as he shot 13-from-13 field goal attempts on his way to a 29 point, ten rebound double-double. Findlay Wood had arguably his best game as a Leopards, sinking five of his seven three-point attempts on the way to 17 points. Asante Sandiford also chalked up another double-double with 15 points and ten board while captain Sam Newman dished out six assists despite struggling with his shot.
But Thunder’s veteran American duo of Zaire Taylor (27 points, nine assists) and Alex Owumi (24 points) proved to be the difference in the end as the visitors recovered from an 11-point first half deficit. Owumi and Tom Ward both his three to open for the visitors but Hodges gave an early indication that he prove unguardable in the paint with Leopards’ first seven points. A second foul call on the seven footer saw Hodges sit down after three minutes of action, but three pointers from Newman and Wood helped Leopards edge ahead, and a three point play from Darrell Bethune sent them into the first break with a 24-20 lead.
Player-coach Josh Goddard halved Thunder’s deficit with the first score of the second period but an and-one from Daniel Wagener in a 6-0 run put Leopards in control. With Hodges’ return to the action seeing him destroy the visitors with 14 points and Wood scoring three times from the Land of Plnty as Leopards led 51-38 near the end of the period before going into the locker room with a 54-42 lead.
Owumi showed his experience early in the second half as he dragged his side back into the game with three triples, but a pair of scores from Hodges and a Sandiford jumper kept Leopards ahead, as they led 60-55 at the mid-point of the third period..
Bethune and Ward exchanged pair of treys as Leopards saw their lead steadily chipped away, and Owumi’s free-throw following a bench technical tied the score before Rory Winter’s basket sent Leopards in the final break 74-72 ahead.
Five straight Owumi points saw Thunder take the lead for the first time since the early stages, and with Taylor living at the foul line it took threes from Wood and Sandiford to keep the home side in touch.
The Big Cats trailed by two going into the final 90 seconds, but successive foul calls in Taylor’s favour saw him sink all four free-throws and a couple of turnovers down the stretch saw Leopards run out of time as they dropped to seventh in the table.
1997 – Budweiser British Basketball League
Playboy TV Leopards 90 Manchester Giants 83
2008 – Win over Crusaders seals play-off place
Leopards 87 (29,49,70) Coventry Crusaders 74 (15,39,59)
Leopards sealed a place in the play-offs with a comfortable victory against Coventry Crusaders in front of a good crowd at Wodson Park on Saturday.
Gareth Laws led the Big Cats’ scoring with 21 points, with Sam Salter adding 19 and Fola Adeleke chipped in wit 13 as Jon Burnell’s team picked up their eighth league win of the campaign. With the following day’s game at Manchester in mind, Leopards coach Burnell made three changes to his starting five, with Matt Collins, Roger Lloyd and Matt Eames replacing Sam Salter, Errol Seaman and Laws – and he had used all 11 of his roster by the 12th minute of the game.
Adeleke scored the opening two baskets for the home side and Lloyd shocked the world to its very core by converting an and-one, but a good start from Crusaders saw them lead 13-11 after six minutes play, with American guard Ryan Leuthy scoring eight of his game-high 37 points.
However, five straight Adeleke points sparked a 19-0 run for the Big Cats which put them in a lead they never relinquished as they reached the first break with a 29-15 lead. Salter and Carl Latham-Henry each added four points in the run, while Lucas Volskis drained a trey as Leopards took control. A Laws basket followed by a Salter trey extended that lead to 34-15 in the first minute of the second period, but as the Big Cats relaxed Crusaders went on an 18-7 run – with Salter scoring five of those Leopards points – and with Crusaders scoring the final seven points of the half, the home side’s lead was cut to ten points going into the half-time break.
Leuthy drained two free-throws to open the second half after Lloyd have received a technical foul during the break, but seven points from Laws in a 12-0 run saw Leopards’ lead return to 20. Crusaders still refused to lay down, and with Leuthy in fine form a 9-0 run helped them cut the deficit to 11 going into the final period, with Latham-Henry scoring the final points of the period after Coventry had cut the lead to nine.
Laws and Salter opened the fourth quarter with three-pointers, and the visitors never got the margin down to single figures again as Leopards closed out the win to complete the double over the Midlands side.
Leopards: G Laws 21, S Salter 19, F Adeleke 13, C Latham-Henry 11, E Seaman 9, R Lloyd 5, L Volskis 5, M Collins 1, L Greenan 1, M Eames, A Scotland-Williamson.
2002 – Trophy woe for Leopards
Chester Jets 93 (14,45,63)
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 82 (14,31,56)
Rod Brown 23, Mo Robinson 20, Rico Alderson 17
BBL Trophy semi-final @ Skydome, Coventry
Unfortunately no report for this one, but having lost a tight league game against Jets at Brentwood the previous night, Leopards went out of the BBL Trophy against the same opposition in Coventry. as a poor second quarter proved crucial. Rod Brown led the Big Cats with 23 points.