On this day – March 13

2016 – Leopards seal play-off spot

Essex Leopards v Team Northumbria 13th Mar 2016; Albert Margai;A good all-round performance on Sunday saw the Big Cats gain revenge for December’s controversial loss against Team Northumbria with a 74-63 win at the Brentwood Centre. The result ended the north-east side’s hopes of the runners-up spot as the Big Cats took control with a 20-2 run spanning the first break and never looked back.

The win also secured Leopards’ place in the end-of-season play-offs for the sixth successive season and the tenth time in 11 seasons, although Steve Ogunjimi’s team will still look to move up the Division One table.

Eleven Leopards were on the scoresheet, led by Albert Margai’s 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Big Cats played some excellent defence for their 13th league win of the campaign. Courtney Van Beest added 11 points and six rebounds while Tosin Oyelese finished with a ten point, 12 rebound double-double.

CvB v TNOylese got the hosts on the scoreboard but visitors started well as four points from former Leopard Siman Stewart helped them to an 8-2 lead . That proved to be as got for Northumbria  Leopards produced the kind of lock-down defence which saw them win the title last season. Oyelese started the 20-2 run which put the home side in the driving seat as the visitors were held scoreless for over nine minutes .

Margai and Jamie Hayes hit baskets to give Leopards a lead they would never lose before six straight Tom Martin points sent his side into the first break with a 15-10 lead. The domination continued as three Will Ashby points followed by scores from Oyelese and Van Beest gave the hosts a 22-10 lead.

Stewart eventually broke the run, but treys from Ladi Brown and Margai helped the Big Cats go into the locker room with a 34-26 advantage.

Essex Leopards v Team Northumbria 13th Mar 2016; Tosin Oyelese;Justin Hitchman hit four points against his former side to keep the Big Cats ahead early in the second half before four Van Beest points gave Leopards their biggest lead of the game at 47-31 with four third period minutes remaining.

Scores from Lewis Champion and Chuck Duru kept the visitors in the game, but Van Beest continued to cause them problems as his converted an and-one to send his side into the final break with a 55-43 lead.

Brian Nguru hit the first five Leopards’ points of the fourth period, and Oyelese took his personal total into double figures before Northumbria coach Marc Steutal collected a technical foul.

A 10-0 run from the visitors made it a five point game with 79 seconds on the clock but despite coach Ogunjimi before T’d up for shouting at his own player, Margai and England junior international Evan Walshe stayed cool at the foul line to wrap up the win.

In a game where they only shot 28 percent and were out-rebounded 55-47, Randolph led Northumbria with 20 points, while Stewart finished with a 14 point, ten rebound double-double in 40 minutes.

2011 – Leopards win it in overtime

Leopards 87 (10,39,56,72) Leicester Warriors 80 (19,35,51,72)

LEOPARDS made it six wins on the bounce, but needed overtime before finally beating a stubborn Leicester Warriors team in front of a big Brentwood Centre crowd. Ousman Krubally completed a good weekend with 29 points and 11 rebounds, with Josh Sharlow adding 18 points, four assists and as many boards, while Josh Johnson added 16 points, nine boards and six assitss. Leigh Greenan finished with nine points and five rebounds despite only playing 14 minutes due to foul trouble. Ramiah O’Neill led the Warriors with 27 points, with Kakad and Todd Doyle finishing with 16 points apiece in a game where their team was out-rebounded 48-43.

Greenan opened the scoring after pulling down a pair of offensive rebounds, but it was the visitors who started strongly, and O’Neill basket put them 15-6 ahead with 3:39 on the clock. Marlan Henry drained a trey to cut the Warriors’ lead, but despite the same player hitting one of two foul shots, Kakad sent the visitors into the first break with a 19-10 lead.

That lead grew to 11 as Kakad opened the second period scoring but six straight Krubally points kept Leopards in touch and a Sharlow trey capped a 6-0 run to make it a four point game going into the final five minutes of the half. Johnson cut the deficit to one with a trey three minutes before half-time, and a Sharlow trey off Borja Pintor-Henningsen’s assist put the exclamation mark on a 9-0 run, and Krubally’s late basket sent the home team into the locker room 39-35 ahead.

Carl Pearson hit a pair from the line to halve that lead in the opening 20 seconds of the second half, and the game remained close with Leopards’ biggest lead coming when a pair of Johnson free-throws made it 53-44 with 3:19 on the clock. Five straight Doyle points brought Warriors back into the game, but a Keelan Cairns trey sent Leopards into the fourth period 56-51 ahead.

Greenan made it a seven point game with the first basket of the fourth period, and Sharlow made it 63-54 with 7:40 on the clock. O’Neill capped an 8-0 run with a trey to make it a one point game, and the same player tied the score at 67 going into the final three and half minutes of regulation time. Three from four Johnson foul shots put Leopards 70-67 ahead with three minutes remaining, but Warriors replied with five straight points to lead 72-70 with 1:48 on the clock.

Predictably it was Krubally who levelled the score at 72, but Warriors had the ball with 12.8 seconds on the clock. Some tough D saw Leopards force a turnover, but Sharlow’s attempted buzzer-eater rimmed out to send the game into overtime.

Rishi Kakad opened the extra period scoring with a trey, with Pintor-Henningsen answering with a long two off Sharlow’s assist. It took until the 2:29 mark in overtime for Leopards to regain the lead as Krubally converted off a Johnson assist, and Johnson doubled the lead after Krubally had grabbed his own rebound.

O’Neill scored another trey to keep his side within a point going into the final minute, but that was the last time the visitors troubled the scorers. Johnson doubled the lead with a foul shot before Pintor-Henningsen took his tally to five, and Sharlow wrapped things up at the line.

Leopards: O Krubally (29), J Sharlow (18), J Johnson (16), L Greenan (9), B Pintor-Henningsen (5), M Henry (5), K Cairns (3), S Esprit (2), Z Wells.

2005 – Ogunjimi leads the way to the play-offs

Essex & Herts Leopards 75 (15,33,53)
Teesside Mohawks 62 (16,30,42)
Steve Ogunjimi led the way with 24 points as Leopards fired themselves back into play-off contention with a win in their final home league game of the season. The biggest crowd of the campaign saw the Big Cats produce an excellent second half performance to leave them needing a victory at already relegated Coventry next Saturday to seal a place in post-season play.
The second half display from Jon Burnell’s was in direct contrast to the abject display they produced after the break at London Capitals the night before. The first half was an even affair, with Leopards’ 26-20 lead with six minutes of the second period remaining, the largest they held.
Brain Moore opened the scoring for Leopards after Harold A-Panzo had given Teesside the lead, and he led the Leopards’ first period scoring with five points. Another A-Panzo basket put Mohawks 12-6 up with 3:32 remaining, but a Laurent Irish basket and two successful free-throws from both Ogunjimi and Troy Selvey put Leopards up by one, before Corey Jackson converted from the charity strip to send the visitors into the first break 16-15 ahead.
Leopards opened the second period with back-to-back baskets from Selvey, as they took a lead they were to never lose, and the American centre went on to scored 10 points during the quarter. Jan-Michael Nation was called for an intentional foul on Eames with 6:07 on the clock, and after he converted one of the two free-throws, Roger Lloyd scored a put-back to put the hosts 26-20 ahead. A pair of Kaleston Woods baskets saw the visitors reduce the arrears to a point in the final minute, but Irish’s second basket of the game put Leopards 33-30 ahead, and although the Big Cats turned the ball over in the dying seconds, Selvey block Nation’s shot to send the hosts into the locker room ahead by three.
Selvey opened the third period scoring with a single free-throw, but Quashie grabbed the rebound from the miss, and was fouled as he scored, a completed the three-point play to put them 37-30 ahead. Moore extended the lead to nine with a trey, and Irish two put Leopards into a double-digit advantage for the first time before six straight Rodney Alexander points and an Ogunjimi basket took the lead to 53-35 before Teesside coach Tom Hanson called a time-out with 2:15 on the clock. That break seemed to work for the visitors, but despite a 7-2 run to close the quarter, Leopards still went into the final break with a 53-40 advantage.
Michael Gayle opened the final period scoring, but five points from Ogunjimi kept the home side comfortably ahead, and a three-point play from Selvey effectively wrapped things up at 65-49 with 3:43 on the clock. There was still time for Ogunjimi to ensure his man-of-the-match award with a massive dunk and another trey, before Irish wrapped up the Big Cats’ eighth league win of the season.
Leopards: S Ogunjimi 25, T Selvey 15, L Irish 11, B Moore 8, R Alexander 6, M Quashie 5, R Lloyd 4, M Eames 1, B Stacey (DNP), F Empson (DNP)
Juniors: U18 Boys eased past basement club Woking Blackhawks 87-53 to move ever closer to that play-off spot.

2020 – Games off

Following a decision by Basketball England earlier today, all NBL basketball has been suspended for a fortnight with immediate effect.
Therefor Leopards’ home games against Barking Abbey tomorrow and Leicester Warriors next week are off,
Unfortunately we also have to announce that the Keith Tewkesbury Memorial game on Sunday March 29 has also been postponed. We are hopeful that we will find a date later in the spring/summer to stage the game. Pre-booked tickets will be valid for the rearranged date with refunds available if ticket holders are unable to attend. Please do not purchase any further tickets.

2010 – Poor start costs Leopards

Derby Trailblazers 100 (29,49,77) Leopards 89 (14,34,64)

LEOPARDS were made to pay for a poor start at league leaders Derby Trailblazers on Saturday as they suffered their 13th league loss of the campaign. The home side scored the first 18 points of the game, and it took until the 5:36 had elapsed before Carl Latham-Henry put the Big Cats on the scoreboard.

Although Jon Burnell’s team outscored Trailblazers during the rest of the game, and were still in with a chance of victory in the final minute, they had left themselves too much to do. Latham-Henry marked his return from illness by leading the Leopards with 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Marlan Henry added 21 points, with Leigh Greenan having an 11 point, 13 rebound double-double, and Lukas Volskis chipped in with ten points.

The closure of the A14 meant that Leopards arrived with only minutes to spare before tip-off, and the lack of preparation clearly effected them as Trailblazers poured in the first 18 points before Latham-Henry broke the run from the foul line, and hit a two off his second missed free-throw. Latham-Henry went on to finish with eight points in the quarter, and with Mike Holbrook adding four, Leopards cut the deficit to 29-14 at the first break.

Leopards opened the second period strongly, with a pair of Henry treys split by two Greenan free-throws saw them score the first eight points of the quarter to cut the deficit to seven points.Ryan Lewis and Jamie McGaffin made it a ten point game, but another Henry trey followed by a three-point play by Latham-Henry saw the Derby lead cut to 32-28. However, with Greenan forced to sit down after collecting his second foul, Trailblazers answered with three from four foul shots from former Leopard Dave Attewell, and the home closed out the half strongly scoring 14 of the final 19 point including a buzzer beating trey from Martin Gayle to take the score out to 49-34 at half-time.

That lead grew to 22 as Derby scored the first seven points of the second half, and with four third period minutes remaining the game looked over as the home side led 70-43. But the visitors showed resilience as three pointers from Volskis and Chris Michaelides plus three from four foul shooting by Latham-Henry saw that deficit trimmed to 18. Gayle broke the run from the foul line, but seven straight Henry points including a four point play followed by a jump shot from former Trailblazer Sam Richardson made it 72-61 heading into the final minute of the quarter.

Leopards looked likely to go into the final break trailing by ten, but a needless foul on Matt Shaw by Michaelides sent the Derby player to the foul line for three shots as the buzzer sounded, and he sunk all three attempts to put his side 77-64 up at the final break.

Six Latham-Henry points saw that deficit cut to 79-70 in the opening two minutes of the fourth period, and with Greenan and Volskis getting on the scoresheet, Leopards were still within 11 at the midway stage of the quarter.

Nine straight Latham-Henry points capped by a trey saw the deficit cut to 94-86 with 97 seconds remaining, before he was called for a baffling intentional foul on Attewell. The Derby big-man sunk both free-throws, but Sam O’Shea missed from the resulting inbound, and with 19 seconds remaining Volskis gave Leopards a glimmer of hope when he hit a three to make it 96-89. However, that was as close as the visitors came, as Derby wrapped up the win from the line to end Leopards’ hopes of an upset.

Leopards: C Latham-Henry 34, M Henry 21, L Greenan 11, L Volskis 10, S Richardson 6, M Hollbrook 4, C Michaelides 3, L McCarthy (DNP)

Brighton Bears 82 Essex Leopards 81
BBL Championship @ The Brighton Centre

Leopards 95 Hemel & Watford Royals 85
Budweiser League @ London Arena

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