2014 – Leopards start with win
“It was a great start to life in Harlow” said general manager Dave Ryan. “We had a decent crowd which gives us something to build on, and considering we’ve only been together as a team for a week, we looked good.”
The result was never in doubt as the Big Cat scored the first 17 points of the game before the introduction of the second unit saw the visitors cut the lead to 25-11 at the first break.
The Philippines team were held to just two points in the first nine and half minutes of the second period as Leopards’ poured in 21 points of their before Mike Mustre hit a trey to make the half-time score 46-16.
Eleven unanswered points from the home side saw Leopards’ lead grow to 60-18 before the visitors hit the final six points of the third period to cut the lead to 74-33 at the final break. With three minutes remaining Leopards looked set to miss out on a century of points as they led 92-51, but Will Ashby exploded with four straight three-pointers in under two minutes to wrap up the win.
Courtney Van Beest and Ashby led the Big Cats’ scoring with 19 points apiece with Ryan Wilson adding 16 and Dave Ajomobi and Byron Richards 13 apiece.
The Big Cats now have a home double at the Brentwood Centre at the weekend with London Lions visiting on Friday before Leopards face Barking Abbey in the National Cup first round on Sunday.
2019 – Leopards struck by Thunder
Leopards’ first road game of the campaign saw them suffer a 117-79 defeat at Worthing Thunder in a friendly game, on Saturday. Thomas Baker’s side struggled to put the ball in the basket as they visited a Thunder side who went agonisingly close to winning Division One last season.
The Big Cats converted just 36 percent of their field goal attempts and only four of their 23 three-pointers to slip to defeat in their second pre-season game. A poor end to the first period saw Leopards go scoreless for more than five minutes as the hosts poured in 16 points, and there was no way back against a Thunder side packed with firepower..
There were some positives for Baker, with Hafeez Abdul causing the hosts numerous problems on the way to a 22 point, seven rebound game, adding a pair of steals and assists. Prince Larty added 14 points and for assists, while Ray Akpofure was rebound away from a double-double with 12 points. Newest signing Jerelle Okoro struggled from the field but hurt Thunder inside, drawing six fouls and going seven-from-eight at the foul line as he finished with nine points and seven boards.
Veteran American Alex Owumi led Thunder with 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but it was GB under-18 international Cameron Hildreth who stood out for the hosts as he finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes of action.
The Big Cats had started well with Abdul giving them a 7-6 lead before the drought that effectively ended Leopards’ hopes of a win, and they went into the first break trailing 28-9. Thunder extended their run to 18 straight points before Larty ended the tear, and a good run late in the second period saw an Abdul trey launch 9-0 run to cut the margin to 20 before Thunder closed out the half to lead 65-38 going into the locker room.
The second half proved to be better for the visitors, tightening up on defence and seeing slightly better shooting without ever looking capable of staging a comeback. A trey from Marius Kaftaniuras saw the lead cut to 86-56 at the final break before Abdul completed the scoring with the final point of the game.