2016 – Leopards double up
Levett Leopards completed a weekend double as they held on for a 70-65 victory at Leicester Warriors, on Sunday. In contrast to Saturday’s victory against Kent Crusaders, the game was won in the first three periods before Steve Ogunjimi’s side survived a comeback from the hosts in the final quarter.
It was the Big Cats’ bench that ensured they picked up their 12th league win of the campaign, with Justin Hitchman leading the way with 17 points and five rebounds as he returned after missing six games, as the bench outscored the starters 43-27.
Captain Albert Margai also marked his return from a one game ban with ten points, three assists, three rebounds and two blocks, with Dougie Benett and Tom Martin coming off the bench to add nine point apiece, with Jamie Hayes finishing with ten boards.
The win moved Leopards within touching distance of sealing a play-off spot, sitting five wins clear of Leicester and with the head-to-head decider against the sides outside the play-off zone.
Tipping off just 16 hours after the end of the win against Crusaders, Leopards started slowly with only a Tosin Oyelese free-throw troubling the scorers as Warriors rushed into a 7-1 lead but a Margai trey got Leopards moving and Bennett’s trey gave them their first lead of the game at 11-10 with 3:22 on the clock. Five straight Hitchman points gave Leopards a lead they would never lose, and Evan Walshe capped a 7-2 run to send them into the first break with a 20-14 lead.
Ladi Brown made it an eight point game with the opening score of the second period and Oyelese made it a double digit lead with a pair of free-throws before Brown hit a triple followed by a two to make it 32-17 at the five minute mark. The hosts were kept comfortably at bay for the rest of the half, and a Bennett trey helped the Big Cats go into the locker room leading 37-23.
Will Ashby drained from the Land of Plenty to open the second half before Margai hit a long jump shot to make it a 17-point game. The hosts replied with an 11-0 run capped by a pair of free-throws from American Rothstein but Hitchman went on a nine point scoring spree and Margai added four as the Big Cats closed out the period strongly to lead 57-38.
Martin hit a trey to extend Leopards’ lead to a game-high 22 points with the opening play of the fourth period. But Warriors replied with a 14-2 run capped by Rothstein to make it a 62-52 at the five minute mark, before Hitchman hit a pair of free-throws and tipped home an Ashby miss.
The lead was still 14 heading into the final three minutes but an 11-2 run capped by Rothstein saw Warriors made it a five point game before Martin effectively sealed the win with a pair of foul shots with 20 seconds on the clock.
American Rothstein led the home side with 18 points and 14 rebounds, with his compatriot Delaney Powell adding 11 points. Carl Pearson also finished with 11 points, adding seven boards.
2009 – London Leopards 108 Derby Trailblazers 94
EBL Division One
2006 – Midweek loss for Leopards
Kingston Wildcats 92 ( 18,41,63) Essex & Herts Leopards 90 (20,44,72)
Leopards were unable to seal their play-off spot as Kingston gained revenge for Saturday’s defeat at Goresbrook with a tight victory. The Big Cats led for long periods in the game, but with Demetrice Williams missing due to injury, they eventually ran out of steam during the closing stages of the game.
In a erratically refereed game the depleted Leopards team, who were missing all three recognised point guards on their roster, were further hurt by the second half ejection of Roger Lloyd. The 6’ 7” power forward picked up two intentional fouls, both of which were extremely harsh, and was forced to leave the game with three minutes of the third period remaining. Troy Selvey led the Big Cats with a 23 point haul, but he provided the assists for the first two buckets of the game, with Brian Moore and Errol Seaman scoring off his passes.
Captain Matt Eames scored one of two foul shots to put the Leopards 5-0 up before Selvey opened his account to give Leopards the perfect start. Predictably, Wildcats fought back, though they were not aided by a coach technical, and three treys from Nathan Selsby helped them take a 15-13 lead before a pair of Sam Salter free-throws levelled things, and with Mike Williamson missing both foul shots after Lloyd’s first intentional foul, a trey from Salter sent Leopards into the first break 20-18 ahead.
A trey from Dave Jones opened the second half for the visitors, and with youngster James Warwick adding six points in a fine display, Leopards led for all of the second period except for a 20 second spell. Coach Jon Burnell emulated his Kingston counterpart by collecting a technical foul, and Eames also picked one up for saying “Jesus” after being called for his third foul, but despite a buzzer-beating three from Junior Sudler, the visitors went into the locker room with a three-point lead.
An 11-2 run to start the third period looked to have put Leopards in charge with a 55-43 lead, with Warwick scoring back-to-back baskets on the fast break. Even after Lloyd’s ejection, Leopards looked in control, with a Jones three keeping them 13 ahead, and despite six straight points from Sudler, a pair of Salter free-throws sent Leopards into the final break with a 72-63 lead.
With Salter continuing to cause his old club problems, his five points kept Leopards ahead by ten with 6:17 on the clock, but as the visitors noticeably tired, successive three point playes from Sudler saw the lead cut to just two with 2:31 remaining. A Selsby trey gave Kingston their first lead since the opening period, and their advantage was increased to three with a basket from James Miller. With Errol Seaman twice being called for three-second violations in the final few minutes, Leopards struggled to get back on level terms, but a Selvey free-throw following by a put-back off Salter’s assist levelled the score with 1:13 remaining.
A harsh call on Seaman saw Sudler drain both free-throws, and with Moore’s last second shot rimming out, the Big Cats will have to wait another week to be mathematically certain of post season play.
Leopards: T Selvey 23, S Salter 21, J Warwick 18, E Seaman 12, D Jones 6, B Moore 5, M Eames 3, R Lloyd 2, E Gregory (DNP)
2010 – Leopards shot down by Rockets
Reading Rockets 97 (31,43,68) Leopards 91 (25,45,66)
A good performance at Maidenhead could not prevent Leopards slipping to another defeat on Sunday.
Carl Latham-Henry again led Leopards with 26 points, five assists and three steals, and all five of the visitors’ starters finished in double figures. Lukas Volskis finished with 17 points, Leigh Greenan 14 despite fouling out in the fourth period, Marlan Henry 13 and Sam Richardson 12 . The game was lost on the boards, though, with Reading out-rebounding the visitors 45-22.
Kenny Saunders was the top scorer in the game with 30 points, with Ryan Lohfink adding 19, Robbie Parker 16 and Jon May 13.
Reading skipper Lohfink opened the scoring for the hosts, and although Greenan replied with a pair from the line, Rockets built a 13-6 lead after four minutes – Henry scoring both the Leopards’ field goals.
Five straight Latham-Henry points, including an and-one dragged the Big Cats back into the game, and with both teams making plenty of visits to the foul line, Reading remained ahead. That lead had grown to 31-22 after a Robbie Parker free-throw, but Chris Michaelides hit a buzzer-beater from downtown to make it a six point game going into the first break.
A Henry basket launched a 6-2 run as Leopards opened the second quarter strongly and although Louis Sayers broke the tear from the foul line, a long two from Volskis saw the Big Cats take a 41-36 lead on the back of an 8-0 run which also saw Latham-Henry and Henry score.
A Sayers trey levelled the score, but it was Leopards who went into the locker room with a 43-45 lead following a Latham-Henry jump shot.
Matt Johnson’s half-time team talk obviously worked well as Parker trey launched a 10-0 run, and it took until the three minute mark for Sam Richardson to put Leopards on the scoresheet.
That basket started a 12-2 run as Leopards fought their way back into the game. Greenan hit a long two before Volskis scored seven straight points.
The impressive Saunders broke the run, and although Henry hit his only trey of the night, the home side closed out the period with a 5-2 run to go into the final break with a 68-66 lead.
Scores from Latham-Henry and Mike Holbrook cut the deficit to one point, but Parker hit a trey and Fenny Falmange scored with a drive to the basket to put themselves back up by six.
The game of runs continued as a Latham-Henry and-one started a 9-2 run as baskets from Greenan and Henry put them 79-78 up going into the final four minutes. That Greenan basket proved to be his penultimate play of the game as the fouled out on a harsh call after Lohfink appeared to step out of bounds, and coach Jon Burnell also collected a technical foul straight afterwards.
Rockets hit only one of the four foul shots to level the game at 79, and Henry hit a jumper to put Leopards back up by two. A 8-2 Reading run saw them regain the initiative, and with back-up centre Holbrook joining Greenan, Leopards never led again as the home side wrapped up the win from the foul line.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 26, L Volskis 17, L Greenan 14, M Henry 13, S Richardson 12, C Michaelides 5, M Holbrook 4, R Baker
Essex Leopards 88 Brighton Bears 93
BBL Championship @ The Brentwood Centre