On this day – Oct 9

2011 – Leopards survive to progress in Cup

IT went down to the last shot, but Leopards reached the last 16 of the National Cup with a thrilling win against London Westside on Sunday evening. The visiting side had a shot to win the game, but came up empty as Leopards marked their debut at Shenfield School with a win.

Leopards were forced to leave Vernon Teel out of their line-up for the game as the competition rules only allow one American against lower division opposition, and they were made to fight all the way by Westside.

Ousman Krubally finished with 27 points, John Lister adding 17 before fouling out and Josh Johnson 16 for a Leopards side who will now host fellow Division One side Westminster Warriors at the Brentwood Centre in the last 16 on Saturday October 29.

Playing on their third home court of the season, Dejan Mihevc’s side controlled the first half with putting enough distance between them and the Division Two team, and they led 36-28 going into the locker room at half-time.

Krubally opened the scoring with a dunk, and Leopards led by as many as nine in the first period as Lister hit a three off a Ryan Alexis assist. Johnson’s basket with nine seconds left in the period sent Leopards into the first break with an 18-10 lead, and he made it a ten point lead with the opening score of the second quarter

Ola Ogidan cut that advantage to five after two minutes of the period, but a Krubally and-one made it a 14 point game before a Volskis free-throw sent the Big Cats into the locker room with a 36-28 half-time lead.

But the hosts managed only two points in the first five and half minutes of the second half, allowing Westside to grab their first lead of the game with 4:02 on the clock through a Dian Ivanov trey. The visitors’ lead grew to as many as eight after a Jon Haymon hook shot, and despite a Krubally free-throw, the visitors went into the final break with a 57-50 advantage.

Johnson opened the fourth period scoring, and Krubally made it a three point game after a Lister steal before Johnson and Lister both scored to put Leopards up by one. The 12-1 run was capped by a Lister threes off Volskis’ assist as the Big Cats looked to be back in charge with a 62-58 lead and 7:30 remaining.

But Lister fouled out with 6:36 on the clock and Westside refused to quit and they held Leopards scoreless for three minutes, pouring in 13 points to lead by nine with just over four minutes remaining. The game swung the other way as four Krubally points and five from Josh Johnson saw the game level again, and a pair of Krubally free-throws made it a one point game in Leopards’ favour heading into the final 80 seconds.

Krubally hit another pair at the line as he was fouled for the 13th time in the game to put Leopards up by three heading into the last minute. Lucian Calin brought his side within a point, but a poor offence saw Johnson miss a shot with 17 seconds remaining giving Westside the ball and the chance to win the game with the final shot.

The visitors ran the clock down before Ben Clarke got the ball just three feet from the basket and a seemingly wide open shot. He somehow missed, leaving Krubally to grab his 23rd rebound of the game and seal the win in dramatic fashion.

Leopards: O Krubally (29), J Lister (17), J Johnson (16), L Volskis (8), M Henry (5), R Alexis (5), D Norton, J Lockwood, M Adomaitis, J Davis (DNP), S Bublys (DNP), J Steel (DNP).

2016 – Disappointing start for Leopards

Essex Leopards v London Lions 17 Sep 2016; Justin Hitchman;Leopards made a disappointing start to the NBL Division One season as they went down 81-67 at Team Northumbria, on Sunday. Trips to the North East haven’t been kind to the Big Cats in recent years, but a lacklustre third period proved key as their league campaign started with a defea.

Steve Ogunjimi’s side matched the home side in the first half, going into the first break tied at 18 and led 36-34 following a Ladi Brown trey heading into the final minute of the second period before Northumbria hit the final four points to lead by going into the locker room.Essex Leopards v Tees Valley Mohawks 20 Mar 2016; Ladi Brown;

That set the tone for the second half as they were outscored 19-12 in the third period to trail 57-48 at the final break and they were down by as many as 20 before a rally by the bench players saw a Brian Nguru and a Justin Hitchin layup cut the lead down the stretch.

Hitchman came off the bench to lead the visitors’ scoring with 13 points, with Brown adding 13, Mike Martin nine and Dougie Bennett – making a rare start – eight.

Leopards: J Hitchman 14, L Brown 13,   M Martin 9, D Bennett 8, B Aduluola 7, B Nguru 6, D Ajumobi 7, J Hayes 2, T Oyelese, D Scott-Robinson.

Leopards would like to thank former chairman Fred Dicker for driving the team bus to Newcastle, on Sunday. It’s good to have the big fella back

1999 – Johnson’s 25 points in vain

DRIVER Brighton Bears 89 (15,38,61)
Trojanowski 19, Claxton/Scantlebury/Sharp 15
adidas London Leopards 79 (25,43,62)
Johnson 25, Brantley 21, Capers 16
Dairylea Dunkers Championship @ The Trianlge
Leopards’ Larry Johnson led all scorers with 25 points but it wasn’t enough to stop his team going down 89-79 to the rejuvenated Brighton Bears.
The Bears posted their third win in four starts after recovering from an early 15-4 deficit, to take their first lead at 28-27.
It was neck and neck throughout the third, before the Bears broke the game open with an 11-2 blast at the start of the fourth for a 77-70 advantage.
Leopards disappointing night was completed when captain Robert Youngblood fouled out with six minutes to play.

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