On this day – Sept 15

1999 –  Leopards frozen out

IRB Reykjanesbaer 111 (53)
Perry 26, Hauksson 18, Einasson/Orlygsson 13
adidas London Leopards 75 (37)
Deppisch 20, Youngblood 16, Capers 14
Korac Cup
Leopards received a baptism of fire in the club’s first ever European match, going down by 36 points to an Icelandic club side packed with eight internationals.
Billy Mims’ men had no reply to their hosts 13 three-pointers, seven of which came before the interval to see the home side 53-37 in front.
Leopards disappointing night was completed when American guard Kenya Capers was ejected for throwing an elbow with 5:40 to play.

2015 – Team USA beaten in thriller

DSC_0431Steve Ogunjimi is still undefeated as Levett Essex Leopards head coach as they completed an unbeaten pre-season with an 84-83 victory against Team USA Select Reds on Tuesday evening. The touring side brought their strongest line-up to Leopards’ training venue in east London, and the scrimmage proved to be an excellent test for the Big Cats ahead of Friday’s National Trophy opener against London Lituanica at the Brentwood Centre.

Ogunjimi was able to use all ten available players, subbing five in/five out until the tense final stages of the game.

An even first period saw the lead change hands eight times, but despite a big trey from Tom Martin, the visitors went into the first break 19-18 ahead.

The Big Cats started the second period strongly with a 10-3 run to give them a 28-22 lead at the mid-stage of the quarter and although the visitors fought back, they could only halve the hosts’ lead to 41-38 going into the half-time break.

The visitors – whose second team had already lost against the Leopards at Brentwood 11 days earlier – fought back to cut the Big Cats lead to 55-54 after five second half minutes and they led by as many as eight before a good run from Leopards saw a Brian Nguru free-throw tie the game at 70 going into the final break.Essex Leopards v Brunel 12 Sep 2015; Justin Hitchman;

Points were at a premium early in the fourth period with Justin Hitchman levelling the score at 72 with two minutes gone before an Albert Margai and-one put them up by a point, and Ladi Brown kept they ahead.

The game was tied at 77 with five minutes remaining , but although the visitors opened a four point lead, a single Courtney Van Beest free-throw made it a one point game with 2:23 on the clock. The game went down to the wire, and it was Will Ashby who hit what proved to be the key show with 26 seconds on the clock, and the kind of tough defence which saw them win the league last season resulted in Leopards stealing the ball with nine seconds remaining. Brown saw his last second shot blocked after he had run down the clock, but Leopards held on to take the win.

2012 – Controversial end in Leopards’ opener

Leopards’ season started in controversial fashion as they lost 83-81 at Tees Valley Mohawks in the National Trophy. Player-coach Robert Youngblood looked to have tied the game with eight seconds remaining only for the referee to rule that his toe was on the three-point line and gave a two-pointer, leaving Mohawks to wrap the win up from the foul line.
“It was definitely a three” said a clearly frustrated Youngblood. “I looked over at their bench and they all clearly thought it was a three. “The ref said my toe was on the line, but he must have been looking through a microscope. But we didn’t lose it because of that, we lost it because of our turnovers. “I told the players that if we won it on the boards and had less turnovers, we get the win. We out-rebounded them by six, but had 21 turnovers to their 12, and they scored 27 points off them. We’ve simply got to take better care of the ball, but when [Simon] Cummings joins us we should be a lot better.”
Greg Hernandez marked his competitive debut with a 22 point, 13 rebound double-double for the Big Cats, with Lukas Volskis adding 15 points and three assists, and Taner Adu finishing with 12 points, five assists and three steals. Jamie Kohn led Tees Valley with 25 points and 11 boards, with Jorge Ebanks (24) and David Hanson (22) completing the bulk of the Mohawks’ scoring.
Hernandez opened the scoring, and Leopards led by six at the five minute mark when the American forward converted a Lawrence Brown assist. and although Mohawks fought back, Simonas Bublys scored off Adu’s assist to send them into the final break 23-21 ahead.
that lead was eight points after two and half minutes following a Hernandez basket, but Tees Valley rattled off 13 straight points capped by a Kahn basket to take control and Hanson sent them into the locker room with a 40-34 lead as he hit a trey after a Lee McLaughlin steal and assist.
Volskis scored off Brown’s assist to open the second half and brown levelled the score at 54 with 4:25 on the clock before Adu hit a pair at the foul line to put Leopards back ahead, and Adu hit a jumper to endure that the teams were tied at 60 going into the final break.
England junior Rowell Graham converted a pair of free-throws to put Leopards ahead with the opening score of the final stanza, but there was little to choose between the teams before Hanson sent hit team into the last minute with an 80-76 lead.
Hanson missed a pair at the line to keep Leopards in touching distance and Volskis chipped a point off with one of two foul shots. Henson then converted a pair of charity shots, only to see Volskis hit a two to set up the final, controversial ending to the game.
Leopards have no competitive game this weekend due to having a bye in the National Cup as holders, but they travel to University East London to face Division Two side Newham Neptunes. Youngblood is expected to try out at least one new player in the game before Leopards return to the Brentwood Centre on Friday September 28 and Basildon Sporting Village two days later.

2007 – Pro Lions too tough

Leopards 64 (8,25,50) Marshall MK Lions 122 (37,62,88)
Leopards will be pleased to return to playing EBL opposition this weekend after another heavy defeat against a BBL side on Saturday.
There was no way back for the Big Cats after the visitors scored the first 15 points of the game, and after that it was damage limitation for Jon Burnell’s team as they found the full-time professionals too tough.The Leopards travel to Canterbury this weekend for the Kent Tournament where they will face hosts Kent Crusaders in the semi-final on Saturday and either Bristol Academy Flyers or Southampton Trailblazers on Sunday.
The Big Cats played Crusaders on Thursday evening in a training game, winning by ten points, so the game should give them a good chance of winning. Coach Burnell again took the chance to look at some new players, with five new faces in the 12-man squad with American centre John Smith leading the scoring with 12 points. The rest of the points were evenly shared around, with Sam Salter, Lukas Volskis and Fola Adeleke each getting eight points as all 11 Leopards got on the scoresheet.
Kevin Griffin opened the scoring for the Lions with a three pointer, and the visitors scored two more long range efforts as they rushed into a big lead.Nathan Wilson broke the run, but some poor foul shooting saw Leopards score only three from eight from the charity stripe before a pair of Leigh Greenan free-throws made it 25-8 going into the final two minutes of the first period.That was as good as it got in the opening quarter, as Lions rattled off 12 points in two minutes to lead 37-8 at the first break.
A three pointer from Sam Salter was the highlight of the second period for the Leopards as Lions continued to increase their lead, and the half-time arrived with the visitors leading 62-25.
The third period proved to be Leopards’ best of the game as they matched the Lions. An early barrage of three-pointers saw Rob Parker, Gareth Laws, Wilson and Volskis all score from long range as Leopards outscored the visitors 15-13 in the first six minutes of the half.
The final two minutes of the third period proved to be the Adeleke show – at least as far as Leopards were concerned – as he scored their last seven points of the period to send them into the final break trailing 88-50.
The fitness level of the visitors clearly showed in the fourth quarter as they built on their lead, before Laws completed the scoring with a pair of free-throws, but the game should prove another lesson for Burnell’s team as they look forward to the new season.
Leopards: J Smith 12, S Salter 8, L Volskis 8, F Adeleke 8, G Laws 6, L Greenan 5, N Wilson 4, D Deng 4, R Parker 3, D Muratcea 3, G Hunter 3, M Jarvis (DNP)

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