2004 – End of Summer for Leopards
Essex & Herts Leopards 74 (16, 35, 51)
Hackney White Heat 92 (26, 49, 72)
Brian Moore’s 24 points were not enough to prevent Leopards from slipping out of the Hosana Summer League on Wednesday evening. The former member of the original London Leopards BBL winning side hit five three-pointers during the second period, but the Big Cats had no answer to the depth of the Hackney line-up.
Heat fielded six players with BBL experience in their 12-man roster, and their high tempo play proved too much for Jon Burnell’s experimental side, who were missing Danny Scott and Marcus Knight from the previous week’s team.
The two sides exchanged points during the opening minutes with, Steve Ogunjimi who had two spells with the original Leopards, doing much of the damage for the new-look side with ten early points.
Matt Eames led the Leopards with four first period points as eight Big Cats got on the scoreboard, but a late flourish from Heat saw them leading 26-16 at the first break. The second period saw the Big Cats struggle offensively, scoring only nine points in the first seven minutes and it took 11 straight points from Moore to keep the deficit at 49-35 at half-time.
In a foul-strewn game, Leopards continued to struggle to score after the break, but Moore continued to drain the threes with a pair in the second half. However, despite 11 points from another original Leopard Mark Quashie and all 10 of the Big Cats getting on the scoresheet, Heat comfortably closed out the game and a place in the semi-final.
Despite the disappointment of suffering defeat in both their games in the competition, the two summer league games have allowed coach Burnell to look at players, and when pre-season starts in earnest during mid-August, fans of the new club can expect to see a stronger side.
Leopards: B Moore 24, M Quashie 11, J Warwick 8, R Lloyd 8, S Gray 7, M Eames 6, M Addy 3, C Offiah 3, A Bayliss 2, D Adams 2.