On this day – March 17

2016 – Brown wins thriller at Reading

Essex Leopards v Kent Crusaders 27 Feb 2016; Ladi Brown;A stunning end to the game saw Levett Leopards win 76-74 at Reading Rockets on Thursday evening. After leading for much of the final three periods, the Big Cats found themselves three down heading into the final stages before Ladi Brown tied the score with an and-one, and 11 seconds on remaining.

The visitors then played some excellent defence before Will Ashby stole the ball and knocked into Reading’s half before feeding Brown who laid the ball home with just 0.6 seconds on the clock. After a slightly premature court invasion, Leopards reground in the timeout called by the hosts, and held strong to pick up a win that moves them up to sixth in the table.

Brown’s late heroics capped an excellent all-round team performance from a Leopards’ side missing Brian Nguru, Evan Walshe and Connor Stuart as all nine Big Cats were on the scoresheet by half-time. justin v magicJustin Hitchman led the scoring for the visitors with 18 points, including 10-from-14 foul shooting, while Ashby added 13 points, Brown 12 and Tosin Oyelese ten points and eight rebounds.

The result ended Reading’s nine game winning streak in league games since they lost 72-70 against the Big Cats at Harlow, and lifted Leopards up to sixth in the table as they look to move up Division One ahead of the play-offs.

The game was played at John Madejski Academy Sports Complex due to Rockets’ regular home courts being unavailable and was the 13th venue the two old rivals have met at, and once again the game proved to be a nail-biter with nine lead changes, eight ties and the biggest lead coming when Leopards were up by eight early in the third period.

Leopards started slowly, trailing 9-5 after five minutes, but a score from Ashby followed by an and-one from Hitchman gave them a 10-9 lead before the home side replied with a 6-0 run, and it took a pair of Ashby free-throws to cut the deficit to 15-12 at the first break.

But Steve Ogunjimi’s team started the second period well with Dougie Bennett hitting a jumper, and scores from Brown, Oyelese, Tom Martin and Brown keeping them in touch before a Bennett shot from the corner levelled things. Essex Leopards v Westminster Warriors 25 Oct 2015; Will Ashby;Albert Margai put his side up by two and Jamie Hayes stunned everyone by draining from the Lane of Plenty before a Bennett trey sent the Big Cats into the locker room with a 39-36 lead.

Scores from Oyelese and Courtney Van Beest saw Leopards start the second half well before Margai’s assist to Ashby made it an eight point game with three third period minutes gone. But a three from the Land of Curry by Rockets’ American forward Antonio Robinson – who led his side with 16 points and as many rebounds – pulled his side back into the game and although Leopards never trailed in the period it took a Hayes drive to the basket to send them into the final break with a 58-56 lead.

An Ashby trey made it a five point game with the opening play of the fourth period, but despite a fine reverse lay-up from Brown, Rockets proved stronger for much of the final stanza and Wayne Yeboah put the hosts 70-65 up with 3:43 on the clock to force an timeout from Ogunjimi.

Drives to the basket from Margai and Hitchman kept Leopards in touch, and after a frantic period of play Hitchman split a pair at the line to make it a one point game with two minutes remaining. Yeboah hit a pair at the free-throw line with 25 seconds on the clock to force an Ogunjimi timeout and set up the final frantic seconds as Leopards recorded their 14th league win of the campaign.

2013 – Leopards hold on for win

After several recent comeback victories, Leopards nearly had the tables turned on them at Westminster on Sunday as they let a big lead slip before eventually winning their fourth straight game, 81-71. The Big Cats led by 15 midway through the third period but saw their lead cut to one with three minutes remaining before wrapping the game up with a 9-0 run.

Carl Josey led the visitors with 23 points, with Simon Cummings adding 21 and Greg Hernandez 15.

Leopards started the game slowly, with only Hernandez troubling the scorer as the home side took a 7-2 lead, but five straight points from Josey tied the game at 14. Warriors’ Jon Johnson was on fire in the first period, hitting five three-pointers, and although Ish Fontaine gave the visitors their first lead at 18-17 with a three four minutes from the end of the period, Westminster finished strongly with a 9-5 run to lead 26-23 at the first break.

Duane Camile opened the second period scoring with a long jump shot, and Leopards took control of the game as  massive three-pointer from Cummings before he stole the ball and fed it to Josey to repeat the trick put them up by six with four minutes of the half remaining. Fontaine made it a ten point game with an and-one going into the final minute of the half and Cummings’ floater sent the Big Cats into the locker room with a 49-39 lead.

Rowell Graham dunked to open the second half, and a Fontaine drive put Leopards 56-41 ahead with 7:07 on the clock to force a timeout from the hosts. Josey hit another trey to keep Leopards ahead, and Tom Martin’s long two ensured they went into the final break  with a 66-55 lead.

That advantage all but evaporated as Warriors scored the first nine points of the fourth period before Hernandez ended the drought. Youngblood looked to have steadied the ship as he put Leopards up by seven going into the final five minutes, but another Westminster time-out saw them answer with a 6-0 run to make it a one point game.

A Cummings floater made it a three point game with 2:37 on the clock before he then beat the shot clock to make it a five point game. It was Josey, though, who scored the dagger three in the final minute, again beating the buzzer, before Hernandez wrapped up the win from a Martin assist.

2019 – Leopards torched by Dragons’ fire

A good start wasn’t enough for Leopards at Bradford on Sunday as they went down 100-85 to the Dragons. The home side had seen their place in Division One next assured as other results went their way the previous night, and they celebrated with an ultimately comfortable win against the Big Cats.
A Lee Hodges lay-up put capped a 7-0 run by the Big Cats to give them a 22-12 lead with 100 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but the home side replied with a 16-4 tear to take control of the game.
Asante Sandiford led the visitors with 20 points before fouling out with three minutes remaining, while Findlay Wood added 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. Hodges finished with 18 points eight rebounds before joining Sandiford on the bench following a technical foul, with Sam Newman and Chuck During adding 11 points apiece.
But the Big Cats had little answer to American Ricky Fetske who finished with a 30 point, ten rebound double-double, adding six assists in a 40 minute performance.
A Hodges and-one saw Leopards open the scoring and Hodges scored seven of the visitors’ first ten points, with Wood draining a trey before scores from Newman and Duru put them 14-7 ahead. Duru scored from downtown before Hodges took his personal tally to 11 as Leopards went into the first break with a 22-16 lead. Rory Winter kept the visitors ahead but a 7-0 run capped by Lycoudis’ trey saw Dragons take their first lead of the game at 26-24.
The rest of the half was nip and tuck as Wood’s outside shooting kept the Big Cats in touch, and Sandiford beat the clock with a jump shot to reduce Bradford’s lead to 47-43 going into the locker room.
Thomas Baker’s team started the second half well as Duru opened the scoring, and a trey from Newman followed by a pair of Wood baskets tied the game at 52. But back-to-back Fetske baskets in a 8-0 run saw the Dragons take control again, and while Wood again scored from the Land of Plenty and Neman dunked to make it a three point game, Bradford finished the period strongly to lead 74-66 at the final break.
That lead grew to 14 before Newman broke the drought three minutes into the final period, but with Lycoudis twice scoring from three-point land, Dragons’ lead never dipped into single digits as they closed out the win.

2007 – Leopards slip to defeat at Reading

Reading Rockets 99 (22,51,68)
Leopards 87 (24,47,59)
A disappointing fourth period saw Leopards slip to defeat at second placed Reading Rockets on Saturday. Jerrid Campbell led the Big Cats scoring for the first time with 19 points, while Calvin Fowler and Errol Seaman added 15 apiece, as a Leopards side still missing Duncan Ogilvie produced a good performance before eventually coming up short.
A three-pointer from Sam Salter opened the scoring for the Big Cats after Steve Humphreys had given the home team the lead, and four points from Fowler together with three from Seaman gave Leopards a 12-9 lead at the midway point in the half. Four points from Campbell kept the Big Cats in front as the sides exchanged baskets, and it was American centre who sent Leopards into the first break with a two point lead thanks to a late basket.
Lloyd Gardner’s three pointer stretched the visitors’ lead to five at the start of the second period, and Salter also scored from the land of plenty kept Leopards in the lead. A technical foul called on the Leopards bench after comments made by Salter saw the momentum change as Steve Vear and Rich Wellings each drained a pair of free-throws. and Humphreys also scored before James Nicholson broke the 6-0 run with a free throw. Nicholson took his tally to five with back-to-back baskets, but it took three Campbell points in the final minute to cut Reading’s lead to four as the sides went into the locker room.
That lead was quickly erased as Salter opened the second half with back-to-back scores, forcing Reading coach Dave Titmuss to call a time-out, but a Wellings trey helped the home side to fight back and establish a five point lead. Rockets still led by six going into the final minute of the third period, but a pair of Seaman free-throws and a Fowler try cut the margin to one before David Watts replied with a 12 foot jump shot. However, Leopards weren’t finished, and scores from Seaman and Campbell sent Leopards into the final break with a 69-68 lead.
Scores from Humphreys and Ryan Williams saw the home side open the final period strongly, but scores from Seaman and Joe Ikhinmwin kept the Big Cats in touch before five straight Williams points saw Reading open an 84-75 lead with just over four minutes remaining.
From then on Leopards were unable to significantly cut the gap. A Campbell dunk cut the lead to five, but that was as close as the visitors got. A rare Ikhinmwin trey gave Leopards hope with a minute remaining, but as Salter and Campbell fouled out, the home side sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Leopards: J Campbell 19, C Fowler 15, E Seaman 15, Salter 13, J Ikhinmwin 13, J Nicholson 8, L Gardner 3

2002 – Bullets shot down at Brentwood

DG London Leopards Kool Kats 90 (17,49,67)
Mo Robinson 22, Rico Alderson 18, Jason Kimbrough 15
Pertemps Bullets Birmingham 82 (22,32,55)
Rob Paternostro 20, Brant Bailey 20, Roshod Johnson 20
BBL Championship @ Brentwood Centre
DG London Leopards Kool Kats put a four-point gap between themselves and Pertemps Bullets Birmingham in the Southern Conference table with a 90-82 victory at Brentwood.
Leopards hit 15 unanswered points in the second quarter on their way to outscoring the Bullets 32-10. With Leopards dominating the boards – out-rebounding Birmingham 59-29 and having three players post double-doubles – the Bullets could get no closer than six.
Maurice Robinson led all scorers with 22 points whilst Rob Paternostro, Brant Bailey and former Leopard Rashod Johnson all bagged 20 for the Bullets.

London Leopards 82 Birmingham Bullets 93
BBL Championship @ The Brentwood Centre

Leopards 94 Doncaster Panthers 89
Budweiser League @ London Arena

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