2013 – Tired Leopards miss out
A clearly tired Leopards team missed out on a weekend double as they went down 68-65 against Medway Park Crusaders at Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Big Cats were missing both player-coach Robert Youngblood and Taner Adu after the previous day’s National Trophy final and a fighting performance failed to give them the victory.
Injured captain Adu admitted it was a tough loss: “It’s very frustrating to have to watch. We have match-up problems with them, they have bigs who can get out and shoot: “We were without Robert and that hurt us because he’s a good defensive players. It’s a shame because I think we’re better than them.”
Simon Cummings led the way with 23 points, four assists and as many steals in 40 minutes as the Big Cats overcame a poor start before eventually coming up short. Greg Hernandez added 13 points and ten boards, with Carl Josey chipping in with eight points and six rebounds, while young guard Dwayne Camile grabbed the chance for some rare court time to finish with seven points.
Cummings hit Leopards’ first two baskets split by a Disraeli Lufadeju three-pointer, but that proved to be their only leads of the first half as Crusaders closed out the first period with a 19-9 run to lead 22-13 at the first break. Lufadeju extended Crusaders’ lead to 11 with a pair of foul shots to open the second period, and although Hernandez replied, the visitors’ lead peaked at 17 when Lual scored with 6:47 on the clock.
It would have been easy for the Big Cats to roll over at the that point but a Dan Dunscombe basket launched a 16-2 run capped by a Rowell Graham bunk which saw Leopards cut the Medway lead to 34-31 heading into the final minute of half. A pair of free-throws from former Leopard Lukas Volskis made it an eight point game but Cummings beat the buzzer to cut the margin 39-33 at half-time .
Josey opened the second half scoring before Camile his five straight points to give Leopards their first lead since the opening stages. The game remained tight, and Sam Betts put the visitors 50-47 ahead going into the final period as a clear foul on Cummings as he attempted a buzzer-beating trey went unpunished. Josey did level things at 50 when he hit a trey to open the final stanza and a pair of Cummings free-throws followed by a Camile basket capped a 7-0 run and put the hosts up by four. James Harris made it a one point game with a shot from downtown before Cummings hit a long two.
Graham made it 59-56 heading into the final three minutes, but Leopards noticeably tired in the closing stages and Cole Hobin hit a pair of baskets in a 7-0 run to give Crusaders a lead they would never lose.
Three from four foul shooting by Cummings saw Leopards cut the margin to a single point, but they failed to trouble the scorers in the final 80 seconds and another former Big Cat Ryan Addison wrapped things up before Josey saw his hail Mary attempt fall short.
Lual led Crusaders with 18 points and seven boards while Lufadejudded 15 points and six boards.
Leopards: S Cummings (23), G Hernandez (13), C Josey (8), D Camile (7), R Graham (7), D Dunscombe (4), I Fontaine (3), T Martin, L Brown, R Youngblood (DNP), J Davis (DNP)
2018 – Disappointment for Leopards in Suffolk
A terrible five minute spell at the end of the third period cost Leopards as they went down 95-76 at Ipswich on Saturday. The Big Cats were leading 51-50 when the home side called a timeout midway through the third period, and the move worked as they hit two three pointers in an 8-0 run and outscored them 21-7 to close out the quarter with a 71-58 lead.
With brothers Kevin and David Moyo missing due to injury, coach Thomas Baker was left with junior Jose Morais as his only point guard, and the Big Cats finished the game with 21 turnovers.
Jamie Rodwell returned after injury and pulled down seven rebounds, but it was skipper Bennett who led the way for the visitors with 19 points, three assists and three boards.
Will Ashby added 15 points and Korey Callum 11 but the Big Cats struggled from behind the three point arc, converting only seven of their 31 attempts.
Caleb Tabanar opened the scoring for the Big Cats and they controlled the early stages with treys from Morais, Jamie Hayes and Ashby they jumped out to a 17-11 at the five minute mark. Five of Leopards’ seven treys came in the first period, but despite scores from the Land of Plenty by Jerell Layne and Callum, Ipswich showed they weren’t going to roll over and Leopards went into the first break with a slender 24-23 lead.
Haynes hit a triple to give Ipswich their first lead of the game with the opening score of the second quarter but Bennett and Tabanar replied to restore the Big Cats’ lead. Neither side were able to lead by more than three points in the second period and five straight points from Ipswich captain Colin Dockerill gave the hosts a three point lead in the final seconds before two free-throws from Callum to cut the deficit to 43-42.
Tabanar gave Leopards the lead with the opening score of the second half before Ipswich replied with seven straight points. Morais hit a trey to break the run before four straight Bennett points gave Leopards what proved to be their final lead of the group before Ipswich made their decisive run, and despite a 14-9 finish to the game from Leopards, they had left themselves with too much to do.
2002 – Riders beaten on the road
Leicester Riders 79 (22,38,61)
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 81 (18,36,58)
Rod Brown 21, Jason Kimbrough 19, jMo Robinson 13
BBL Championship @ Loughborough University
Unfortunately no report for this one, but playing tired must be a feature of this date as Leopards were playing their third game in as many days. Having lost against Chester Jets in both the league and Trophy, Chris Pullem’s side faced former coach Billy Mims and a Riders’ side who were in their first game of the weekend. Despite that, Leopards won a thriller by two points with Rod Brown leading the way for te second straight day, finishing with 21 points.
1996 – Budweiser British Basketball League
Hemel Royals 93 Leopards 96
2008 – Magic have too much depth
Manchester Magic 103 (22,40,72) Leopards 73 (19,39,57)
Leopards found Manchester Magic’s strength in depth just too much on Sunday as they collapsed during the final 13 minutes of the game. The Big Cats matched the league leaders and National Cup holders for the first two thirds of the game, and led 51-50 with three minutes of the third period remaining.
However, against a Magic side who had outscored Sheffield 30-3 in the previous week’s comeback victory, Leopards were then given a torrid time by the home side who proceeded to outscore them 53-22 in just 13 minutes, Carl Henry-Latham led the Big Cats with 24 points, but it was the performance of the two of the Leopards’ junior players which stood out. 17-year-old Leigh Greenan scored 14 points and collected six rebounds in just 20 minutes while Fola Adeleke finished with the 14 points and five boards. Seven foot centre Greenan gave the home side a torrid time in the first half, collecting 12 of his points in his best display of the season.
Steve Boonham opened the scoring for Magic, but Leopards controlled much of the first period, with Latham-Henry proving unstoppable as he scored ten points. Sam Salter also scored five points, including a trey, but as the fouls mounted up, the home side scored the final seven points to go into the first break with a 23-19 lead.
Former Arrow Andre Rankine opened the second period scoring with a trey Magic led throughout the stanza, but with Greenan causing them problems inside, the visitors stayed in touch. A Patrick Dwyer trey took Magic’s lead out to eight with four minutes gone, but and eight straight points – including four from Greenan – cut Manchester’s lead to two points going into the final minute. Stefan Gill made it 40-37 with a single free throw, but it was Greenan who had the final word of the first half with a buzzer-beating tip-in the cut Magic’s lead to 40-39 at half-time.
Five points from Laws saw Leopards take an early lead in the third period, and scores from Adeleke and Latham-Henry kept them in front. A three-pointer from former Leopard Duncan Ogilvie – who led his team with 21 points – put Magic into the lead, but scores from Latham-Henry and Matt Eames saw the Big Cats hold a one point advantage going into the last three minutes of the period. That was as good as it got for the visitors, however, and with Latham-Henry missing three from four free-throws, the hosts closed out the period with a 22-6 run to lead by 15.
There never looked any way back for the visitors as the clearly tired against a side who had the day off on Saturday, and Magic opened the final quarter with a 9-0 run to wrap up the win.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 24, L Greenan 14, F Adeleke 14, G Laws 13, S Salter 5, M Eames 2, M Collins 1, R Lloyd, E Seaman.