On this day – March 30

2014 – Andre leads Leopards to victory

Leopards came back from a 20 point deficit with six minutes remaining to win a stunner 83-80 in overtime against Team Northumbria, on Sunday.  he Big Cats produced their worst performance of the season for three quarters before Andre Lockhart took over the game and keep their title hopes alive.

Lockhart scored  seven points in 79 seconds to send the game into overtime and then hit the game-winning shot with six seconds on the clock to seal the win. The former Newcastle Eagles guard finished with 18 points to lead the Big Cats. Howard Crawford finished wih a 12 point, 13 rebound double-double, with Carl Josey adding 15 points and six board, and Courtney Van Beest hit 12 points and missed out on a double-double by a single rebound.

Matt Martin led Northumbria with a 24 point, ten rebound double-double, with Sean Clifford adding 15 points and Michael Di Stasio finished with ten points and as many boards.

The victory came at a cost as coach Youngblood was ejected late in the game for arguing about a foul call on Van Beest, and now looks likely to miss the semi-final and final of the play-offs if Leopards qualify.

Jack Thompson levelled the score with a three-pointer, but it was clearly Lockhart’s night as he drained a trey with six seconds remaining to give Leopards the win.

There was little sign of what was to follow in the early stages as Martin opened the scoring with a trey, and a flat looking home side quickly fell behind 10-0. A timeout from Youngblood made little difference before Shaun Durant finally opened the scoring with nearly four minutes gone, and the Leopards’ play-caller replaced his entire starting five, and with Lawrence Brown scoring five points and Ioan hitting three, Leopards cut the deficit to 17-13 at the first break.

Crawford opened the second period scoring to make it a two point game, but back-to-back treys from Martin put the visitors back in charge, and Youngblood again benched most of his starters midway through the period as the north east side led 27-19. A Carl Josey trey reduced the arrears to six points, but the changed line-up had little effect this time and Clifford sent Northumbria into the locker room at half-time with a 44-32 lead.

It didn’t get any better at the start of the second half as Northumbria opened with an 8-1 run, an although Josey buried another trey the lead peaked at 21 points with two third period minutes remaining before the visitors went into the four period with a 62-42 lead. Van Beest hit a pair at the foul line and Lockhart cut the visitors’ lead to 16 to open the fourth period but back-to-back Jack Wilson scores saw the north east side back up by 20 points.

A single free-throw from Kris Clark finally got Leopards moving as Lockhart, Crawford and Van Beest all got on the scoresheet in a 9-0 run to make it an 11-point game. Toby Hutton hit a pair at the foul line to break the tear before five straight Crawford points cut the margin to eight. Josey hit another shot from downtown to make it a five point game before Lockhart drained a pair at the foul line to cut the deficit to three.

The ejection of Youngblood seemed to have ended the comeback as Clifford hit four-of-six at the charity stripe to make it a seven point game. A timeout from assistant coach Roger Malpass saw Van Beest score off a Clark assist before Lockhart took over the game.He hit a pair at the foul line before a questionable eight second call on the visitors saw him then fouled while attempting a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining . Lockhart clearly had ice in his veins as he drained all three shots and Clifford’s attempted buzzer-beater rimmed out to send the game into an extra period at 72-72.

Even then, Leopards did it the hard way as Thompson scored the first five points of overtime before Lockhart was fouled by Di Stasio and hit both foul shots. Martin missed a jump shot before Clark made it a one point game with 2:15 on the clock and the American guard gave the Big Cats their first lead of the game with 1:52 remaining.

Crawford put the Big Cats up by three with 69 seconds on the clock off a Lockhart assist,  but there was still time for Thompson to level the score as Leopards again failed to defend the three-point shot.

But as the game looked set for another period of overtime, Crawford fed the ball to Lockhart and he sunk the winner to seal Leopards’ 19th league win of the campaign.

2005 – Leopards win warm-up

West Herts Warriors 76 (18,46,55)
Essex & Herts Leopards 85 (15,40,70)
A dominant third period saw Leopards’ complete a good warm-up for Saturday’s play-off game at Sheffield. The Big Cats outscored their Division Two hosts 30-9 in the third quarter to run out comfortable winners.
Coach Jon Burnell used all nine of his players during the first period, and despite seven points from centre Troy Selvey, they trailed by three at the first break.
Captain Matt Eames was in fine form in the second period, sinking ten points including a buzzer-beating three, but the home side – led by 14 second period from Kooba – doubled their lead to 46-40 at half-time. An 11-3 run saw Leopards take their first lead since the opening minutes, and with Selvey hitting eight and Brian Moore seven, the visitors took control of the game to lead by 15 at the final break.
Leopards remained in control during the opening minutes of the last period, with Roger Lloyd becoming the final member of the roster to get on the scoresheet. The lead was stretched to 20 with four minutes remaining, any although Leopards relaxed during the final minutes, the comfortably chalked up their fourth win of the season against Warriors. Selvey, the only American in the game, led the Leopards scoring with 21, while Mark Quashie chipped in with 16.
Leopards: T Selvey 21, M Quashie 16, M Eames 12, L Irish 12, S Ogunjimi 8, B Moore 7, R Alexander 6, R Lloyd 2, B Stacey 1

2002 – Leopards lose battle of the cats

DG London Leopards Kool Kats 70 (26,40,60)
Rico Alderson 26, Rod Brown 11, Maurice Robinson 11
Milton Keynes Lions 74 (18,32,53)
Jason Siemon 18, Jermaine Brown 14, Andrew Alleyne 11
BBL Championship @ Brentwood Centre
Milton Keynes Lions have gained the final playoff berth in the Southern Conference thanks to a 74-70 victory over DG London Leopards Kool Kats.
Leopards led for the majority of the game, but an Andrew Alleyne two tied things up at 67-67 with 4:18 remaining. The two Browns (Rod and Jermaine respectively) traded threes, but an ‘unsportsmanlike’ foul on Rico Alderson with 20 seconds remaining enabled the Lions to seal the game from the charity stripe. Leopards must now beat the Towers tomorrow to guarantee third place in the South. Alderson led all scorers with 26 points, while Jason Siemon led the Lions scoring with 18.

2003
Essex Leopards 72 Thames Valley Tigers 74
BBL Championship @ The Brentwood Centre

2002
London Leopards 70 Milton Keynes Lions 74
BBL Championship @ The Brentwood Centre

1997
Leopards 93 Derby Storm 90
Budweiser League @ London Arena

1996
Leicester City Riders 102 Leopards 83
Budweiser League @ Grandby Halls

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