2014 – Ashby Wills Leopards to victory
Will Ashby drained a long jump shot with 2.4 seconds on the clock to seal a thrilling 73-72 victory at Reading Rockets, on Saturday. Ashby had missed his first five shots of the game, but after both teams had turned the ball over in the final 22 seconds, Albert Margai drove to the basket before kicking the ball out for the Brentwood-based shooting guard to drain from the top of the key.
In a thrilling game that saw 17 lead changes and eight ties, Leopards still had to play tough defence in the final 2.4 seconds, preventing the home team from getting off a shot until after the buzzer.
Margai led the way for the Big Cats with 22 points, with Dave Ajumobi adding 14 points. Swedish centre Lukas Winegarner marked his debut with 11 points and several good defensive plays, while fellow big man Lawrence Brown added ten.
Leopards started well, but trailed 16-13 at the first break as both teams look good from behind the three-point arc and were down by seven points with 6:16 remaining in the second period before coach Robert Youngblood called a time-out. The move certainly worked as the Big Cats fought back, and Brown put his side up by one with a minute remaining before Byron Richards’ attempted buzzer-beater rimmed out leaving the game tied 36-36 at half-time.
The game remaining incredibly tight in the third period, and Margai’s fast-break saw the Big Cats again edge ahead by a point with 1:34 remaining, before the London-born guard hit a huge trey to send the teams in the final break locked at 55-55.
Ajumobi again made it a one point game with a banked shot three minutes into third period, and it was still a one point game after Adria Baiget had flopped his way onto the foul line with 3:45 remaining. A trey from Baiget put Rockets up by four before Ajumobi drained a huge three as the shot-clock ticked down to set up the grandstand finish.