The victory snapped a run of 13 straight league losses and gave new coach Thomas Baker his first victory since taking over three weeks ago. Brentwood-based Dougie Bennett shrugged off illness to lead the way for the Big Cats with a (senior) career high of 33 points, adding six assists, as he showed why he won the club’s MVP award. Thunder had no answer as they fouled him ten times in the act of shooting, and he finished with 15-from-20 at the foul line.
Bennett had to battle with AJ Roberts for the individual glory, though, with the American guard shaking off a difficult first half to chalk up a triple-double by the end of regulation time, finishing with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.
Youngster Dominic Scott-Robinson had his best game in a Leopards’ vest with 15 points and six rebounds, with Jamie Hayes adding a 13 point, 11 rebound double-double and Justin Hitchman finishing with 12 points and five boards. Only Thunder’s American Lyonell Gaines had any real answer for the visitors as he continued to lead the stats’ charts with a 43 point, 13 double-double.
Perry Lawson hit a trey to send Leopards into the first break with a 21-18 lead, and Roberts put them 40-32 ahead with three first half minutes remaining before the home side reeled off 12 unanswered points to go into the locker room with a 44-40 advantage.
Bennett and Roberts both converted three-point plays as Leopards started the third period with an 8-0 run, and with Scott-Robinson hitting a pair of triples, they led throughout the quarter and headed into the fourth stanza with a 70-64 lead. Oscar Wilkins tied the game at 77 with three minutes of regulation time remaining before Gaines completing an 8-0 run with a jump shot to put Thunder 82-79 up with three minutes remaining,
Shaq Lewis trimmed the lead to one off a Bennett assist but Leopards still trailed by a point heading into the final 40 seconds, Hitchman made it a one point game in Leopards’ favour before Hayes was called for a harsh foul on Jack Sutherland, allowing the Thunder player to tie the game with one-from-two at the charity stripe. .
Roberts turned over the ball, allowing Gaines the chance to win the game but his jump shot missed, sending the game into an extra period.
Sutherland opened the bonus period and Worthing quickly moved into a five point lead before Hayes got the Big Cats off the mark, and although the visitors never led in the stanza, Lawson’s jump shot with 15 seconds on the clock ensured that – for the second Saturday running – the game went into a second overtime period and Tom Ward and Brendan Okoronkwo missed shots in the dying seconds.
Roberts and Gaines exchanged baskets to open the second extra period before Hitchman’s and-one off Roberts’ assist gave Leopards a 101-98 lead. Gaines put his side ahead again with 2:04 on the clock but Hitchman hit another jumper with 87 seconds remaining and the Big Cats never trailed again.
Roberts completed his scoring for the night to make it a three-point game before Bennett wrapped things up with three-from-four foul shooting.
2018 – Leopards at the double
Leopards picked up a pair of victories over weekend, beating London Greenhouse Pioneers by nine points on both Friday and Sunday. The Big Cats led for the vast majority of both their wins against Pioneers, but were unable to pull away and wrap the victories up until the final minute.
Shaq Lewis again top scored in Sunday’s 87-78 win at the Brentwood Centre, finishing with 23 points despite sitting out the final minutes.
Youngsters Wes Moore and Jordan George stepped up down the stretch and finished with 13 and 12 points respectively
Leopards led 20-16 at the first break and pulled away to lead 42-32 going into the locker room.
The visitors fought their way back into the game in the third period, outscoring the Big Cats 30-21 to cut the lead to 64-63 at the final break. But Moore and George, together with fellow youngsters Jose Morails and Caleb Tabernar pushed the lead back into double figures and comfortably completed Leopards’ 13th league win of the campaign.
Former Leopard Tom Martin led Greenhouse in both games with 23 points on Friday and 30 on Sunday.
2002 – Towers woe for Big Cats
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 87 (18,45,67)
Rico Alderson 27, Mo Robinson 19, Rod Brown 17
Kinder London Towers 98 (19,46,74)
Terrell Myers 27, Brett Eppehimer 24, John White 20
BBL Championship @ Brentwood Centre
Kinder London Towers moved within one victory of the BBL Championship Southern Conference after a nailbiting 98-87 victory over the DG London Leopards Kool Kats.
After a tight first half, which Towers edged 46-45, the Towers took control with a 13-3 burst either side of the third quarter break to take control at 80-67 early in the final stanza.
Leopards Rico Alderson continued his rich vein of form with 27 points but could not prevent the Towers from taking the crucial two points.