On this day – March 20

2016 – Leopards hold off brave Mohawks

Essex Leopards v Tees Valley Mohawks 20 Mar 2016; Ladi Brown;Another nail-biting victory saw Levett Leopards make it three wins in 70 hours by seeing off a stubborn Tees Valley Mohawks side 85-79 at the Brentwood Centre, on Sunday.Ladi Brown finished with 17 points to lead the home side, with Will Ashby adding 12 and Tosin Oylese adding eight rebounds to his 11 points.

It was a tired Big Cats’ team going into their third game in four days on Sunday, and a short-handed Mohawks side made them fight all the way before collecting their 16th league win in 25 games.

The visitors, who were desperate for a win in their fight against relegation, started well and led throughout the first period, and despite a pair of treys from Brian Nguru and one from Tom Martin, Mohawks went into the first break with a 26-24.

Essex Leopards v Tees Valley Mohawks 20 Mar 2016; Will Ashby;Martin and Will Ashby continued the barrage from the Land of Plenty to tie the game at 30 before scores from Courtney Van Beest and Oyelese gave them a 34-30 lead. Back-to-back scores from Brown saw Leopards open a 40-34 advantage and a strong finish to the half was capped by a Brown trey to send the home side into the locker room with a 48-39 lead.Essex Leopards v Tees Valley Mohawks 20 Mar 2016; Tosin Oyelese;

Brown hit the hosts’ first four points of the second half but Mohawks refused to give up and despite a pair of Dougie Bennett treys and long range efforts from Ashby and Nguru, the visitors cut the hosts’ lead to 66-60 at the final break.

With only six players, it would have logical if Mohawks had tired in the fourth period, but they clearly don’t fancy playing Division Two basketball next season and nine straight points from Rob Donaldson saw them take a 74-70 lead into the final five minutes.

Brown and Van Beest levelled the score, and Leopards finally burst into life as a 10-2 run capped by a pair of Margai baskets gave them a lead they would never lose again before Bennett’s trey effectively wrapped up the win.

2011 – Leopards win in overtime, again!

Leopards 90 (22,34,56,73) Derby Trailblazers 81 (13,34,50,73) – After overtime

THE Big Cats kept their title hopes alive with a hard-fought win against Derby Trailblazers on Sunday, but for the second successive week they needed overtime before making it seven victories on the bounce.

Mark Clark’s side did it the hard way, though, as they let a nine point lead slip in the final three minutes of regulation time before blowing the visitors away with the first ten points of the extra period. The Big Cats opened a 14-3 lead after five minutes, and only trailed for 48 seconds in the game, but were made to fight all the way by a Derby side that they also meet next week and could play in the play-offs in a fortnight’s time.

Ousman Krubally making his first start in the absence of Leigh Greenan – again led the home side with 27 points and 17 rebounds, with guards Josh Sharlow and Josh Johnson adding 20 and 19 respectively with the latter adding a career-high 17 boards.

Simeon Esprit added ten points and Keelan Cairns eight for a Leopards team who were also without Marlan Henry and Borja Pintor-Henningsen, and coach Clark had praise for his players after the game: ”

“It was the best performance we’ve had as a group. The good young kids like Dominic Norton, Zac Wells and Lucky Olaniyi came in and really helped us out. We covered up well inside against one of the strongest teams inside without Leigh and Borja. Josh Johnson had 17 rebounds and that’s the first time anyone’s had as many rebounds as Ouse. Josh Sharlow and Ouse showed great leadership, and Keelan showed some great character to hit that big shot to break it open in overtime. Four players in double figures, including Simeon, is excellent.”

Martyn Gayle led the Trailblazers with 20 points, with Mark Woodhouse adding ten and former Leopard Dave Attewell nine.

Krubally marked his first start by opening the scoring, and although Woodhouse levelled the score, there was no stopping the hosts in the first four minutes as Sharlow capped a 10-0 run as both Cairns and Krubally had three point plays to put the Big Cats 12-2 ahead. Krubally was forced to sit down after collecting his second personal foul, but Leopards went into the first break 22-13 ahead and they made it a double digit game again when Johnson opened the second period with a basket off Cairns’ assist.

Esprit kept the lead in double figures, and the Big Cats were up by 14 points at the midway stage of the quarter. However, that was the last time the home side scored as Attewell launched a 14-0 run and with Krubally forced to sit down on three fouls, the Trailblazers repeatedly went inside and Woodhouse scored with a put-back 24 seconds from time to send the teams into the locker room tied at 34.

Joel Madourie extended that lead to 16 as Derby took their first lead of the game with the opening score of the second half before Sharlow finally ended the seven minute drought with a pair of free-throws. Esprit scored from the Land of Plenty to launch a 12-2 run capped by a pair of another pair of Sharlow foul shots, and although Simon Spencer finished a 5-0 run to close out the period, it was Leopards who took a 56-50 lead into the fourth period.

Krubally opened the fourth quarter with a pair of free-throws to make it an eight point game but an 8-0 run from Derby levelled the score with Gayle draining from downtown. The home side replied with six unanswered points and a Krubally put-back made it 71-62 with 4:18 on the clock. In a virtual repeat of the end of the first half, Leopards then had a three and half minute drought as Attewell made it a three point game with a minute on the clock.

Johnson hit a pair at the line to make it 73-68 but Rema Lascelles replied before Attewell stole the inbound and fed the ball to Spencer who levelled the score from downtown and 26 seconds on the clock. Johnson missed a jump shot and the visitors had a chance to steal the win but Spencer’s shot from his own half was short.

Cairns opened the extra period with a trey off Sharlow’s assist, and the Big Cats never looked back as Johnson hit a long two and Sharlow buried shots from both inside and outside the arc. A pair of Krubally free-throws made it a ten point game going into the last two minutes before he nearly brought the rim down with a huge dunk earning himself the games fourth technical foul in the process to seal the win.

Leopards: O Krubally (27), J Sharlow (20), J Johnson (19), S Esprit (10), K Cairns (8), D Norton (2), Z Wells (2), L Olaniyi (2), R Alexis (DNP), S Dunscombe (DNP)

2002 – Heart-breaker in Bracknell

Thames Valley Tigers 111 (26,46,77)
Barry Bowman 29, Shawn Jamison 19, Greg Meldrum 17
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 110 (32,63,90)
Jason Kimbrough 27, Rico Alderson 23, Mo Robinson 22
BBL Championship @ Bracknell Sports Centre
Thames Valley Tigers staged a remarkable comeback to snatch a vital victory in their battle for a play-off berth in the Southern Conference. Tigers came from 25 down to win 111-110 against DG London Leopards Kool Kats.
Leopards dominated the game for three quarters leadin 55-80 midway through the third quarter. They still had a 98-80 advantage with 6.50 left in the game. But a 15-2 tear had Tigers back in the game at 95-100 but they had lost the game’s leading scorer Barry Bowman (29 points) to fouls.
A Greg Meldrum three pointers with 36s left made it 105-108 and then he hit another and drew a foul to put Tigers 109-108 15s from the buzzer. Jason Kimbrough gave Leopards back the lead with two free throws with 5s on the clock, but former Leopard Eric Burks snatched the victory with two foul shots 2s from time. It was a very dodgy foul call

1999
Worthing Bears 94 Greater London Leopards 116
BBL Championship @ Worthing Leisure Centre

1997
Leopards 106 Leicester Riders 97
Budweiser League @ London Arena

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