Levett Essex Leopards powered their way into the National Cup third round with a comfortable 99-57 victory at Barking & Dagenham Thunder, on Tuesday evening.
Led by 26 points from Ladi Brown, Steve Ogunjimi’s team never trailed against their Division Three hosts, and they will now host Westminster Warriors at the Brentwood Centre in the last 16 on Sunday October 25 .
After surviving a scare against NBDL side Southwark Pride in the first round, Steve Ogunjimi’s side made no mistake against the Division Three side in what was their second visit of the season to their former home at Barking Abbey.
Will Ashby opened the scoring for the visitors and a Tosin Oylese basket followed by back-to-back Brown scores gave them an early 9-2 lead.
The home side fought back to tie the game at 11 before a 13-0 run sparked by treys from Ashby and Brown, and finished with a lovely move which saw Courtney Van Beest’s behnd-the-back pass find Justin Hitchman to score a lay-up and put Leopards in control at 24-11.
Brian Nguru sent the visitors into the first break with a 26-15 lead as Ogunjimi gave his bench players some court time before a pair of Jamie Hayes (right) baskets split by an Evan Walshe basket saw Leopards extend their advantage steam vr.
The starters returned to the action after three second period minutes, and further treys from Ashby and Brown kept them ahead before England junior international Walshe hit a triple to give Leopards a 46-28 half-time lead.
Scores from Ashby, Hitchman and Tosin Oyelese saw Leopards open the second half with seven unanswered points, and they went into the final break 79-47 ahead as Ashby beat the buzzer with another score from the Land of Plenty.
Brown opened the final stanza and Leopards limited the home team to ten points in the and a Walshe (left) dunk made it 90-9 with six minutes gone. Van Beest had the chance to rack up a century of points in the final second, but he split a pair of free-throws but it couldn’t prevent his side ending their run of four straight losses.
Ashby added 13 points, Hitchman 11 and Walshe ten on a night when all ten Leopards got on the scoresheet. Thunder were without former Leopard Marlan Henry who led their scoring in their first round win at Division Two side Eastside Eagles, but Ravidson Teixeira who played briefly in the 2012 treble winning Big Cats team finished with 11 points.
2013 – Trophy dreams over
Leopards’ defence of the National Trophy ended with a 72-70 overtime defeat 70 against Tees Valley Mohawks at the Brentwood Centre, on Sunday. With four straight losses in the competition they won last year, Leopards are now mathematically certain of elimination, and coach Robert Youngblood will use Sunday’s trip to Medway Park Crusaders as a chance to give himself and forward Siman Stewart some much-needed court time ahead of the National Cup against Medway or Hemel at the Brentwood Centre on October 27.
“We clearly need to change things around” said Youngblood. “Some of the players have been told that they need to improve, and we need to sort things out quickly with the Cup game at the end of the month.”
Howard Crawford again led the way with 21 points and 12 boards, with Josey also getting a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Kris Clark added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Crawford hit a pair of baskets to open the scoring, and Leopards never trailed in the first period before Courtney Van Beest sent them into the first break 14-12 ahead
Jorge Ebanks, who led all scorers with 26 points, levelled things at the start of the second quarter but Leopards reeled off six points to take control, and seven straight Clark points saw the lead grow to 29-17 before an Ebanks trey cut it to 35-28 at half-time.
Leopards started the second half strongly with baskets from Crawford and Josey, but the visitors refused to lie down and made it a nine point game with under a minute of the third period remaining before a Tom Martin trey and a Josey basket sent the Big Cats into the fourth quarter 50-44 ahead .
A Baker three pointer with 6:38 on the clock made it an eight point game and Josey also go in on the act from downtown as Leopards remained in charge, but with two minutes left Mohawks made a decisive run as five Ebanks points in a 7-0 run saw them grab their first lead of the game. Stewart split a pair of free-throws for what proved to be the final score of regulation time, with Crawford and Martin missing shots before Clark made a mess of the final play to send the game into an extra period with a 61-61 scoreline.
A Josey dunk opened the overtime scoring, and it wasn’t until Nelson hit a trey with 1:57 on the clock that Mohawks took only their second lead of the game but it proved decisive as Samuels also scored from long-range to put them ahead by five. Josey hit a pair at the line before Lawrence Brown split a pair, but Josey attempted game-winner with a second on the clock missed iron and Mohawks hung on for the win.
Leopards: H Crawford (21), C Josey (15), K Clark (13), S Stewart (6), C Van Beest (6), R Baker (3), T Martin (3), I Nickson (2), I Forntaine, L Brown (1), R Youngblood (DNP), M Isebor (DNP)
2001 – Cup woe for Big Cats
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 88 (24,47,65)
Maurice Robinson 22, Jason Kimbrough 21, Rico Alderson 14, Rod Brown 14
Westfield Sharks Sheffield 96 (26,44,64)
Lynard Stewart 27, Richard Windle 22, Jeff Monaco 13
ntl:home National Cup, 1st round @ Brentwood Leisure Centre
Westfield Sharks Sheffield came from behind to defeat the DG London Leopards Kool Kats 88-96 in the first round of the ntl:home National Cup.
Sharks started with a 11-4 tear in the first, but it was the Leopards who came back with a 10-4 run to lead 47-44 at the half. The Leopards couldn’t hold onto the lead however with Sharks coming up with a 9-2 and a 6-2 run with 3’s from Reinking and 2 from Monaco.
Lynard Stewart led all scorers with 27 points, while Robinson led the Leopards with 22.
2018 – Leopards Hood-winked by Nottingham
For the second successive weekend Leopards fought back from a 20 20 point half-time deficit but were unable to close out a win as they went down 101-83 against Nottingham Hoods at the University of Essex.
Against the Division Two champions, the Big Cats were 61-41 down at half-time but pulled within seven early in the fourth period before Hoods closed out the win down the stretch.
Lee Hodges led the Big Cats with a 20 point, 12 rebound double-double, while Alejandrow Hernandez Batista hit five of his eight three-pointers to finish with 17. Chuck Duru was the only other Leopards in double figures with 11 points as Leopards slipped to 0-2 in the league.
Duru opened the scoring for what proved to be Leopards’ only lead of the game, and only Luke Mascall-Wright got on the scoresheet as Hoods responded with a 12-2 run to take a stranglehold on the game.
Duru broke the run with a trey but despite the young Spaniard hitting another pair from the Land of Plenty and Findlay Wood also getting in on the act, Hoods continued to dominate inside to lead 33-22 at the first break
Hodges opened the second half scoring before Batista again hit from downtown to make it a six point game. But that proved to be as good as it got for the home side, and despite a three from Sam Newman, Hoods repeatedly found space outside the three point arc and hit five tines to lead by 20 going into the locker room.
Wood got into the three-point act to open the second half and an 8-0 run capped by a Wes Flaherty basket cut the margin to 71-57 with three third period minutes remaining before Batista’s fifth triple made it 76-66 at the final break.
A pair of Mascall-Wright baskets made it an eight point game early in the fourth period, and Hodges’ free-throw took the deficit down to seven, but five Delaney Powell points broke Leopards’ run, and Powell’s trey with two minutes left saw Ryan Lewis’ side close out the victory.
Luke Mitchell led Hoods with 27 points and four assists, with Cole Welle adding a 23 point, ten rebound double-double and Powell finished with 18 points and six boards .
2014 – Leopards lose in Leicester
Leopards slipped to their second National Trophy defeat of the campaign as they went down 88-83 at Leicester Warriors, on Saturday. The Big Cats saw player/coach Robert Youngblood ejected for two unsportsmanlike fouls early in the second half, but it was an inability to stop Warriors’ guards Ryan Lewis and Carl Pearson that proved to be Leopards’ downfall.
Greg Hernandez recovered from a foot injury to make his competitive debut, and he showed the kind of form that saw him win the Division Two MVP, scoring and rebounding awards last season as he led the Big cats with 22 points. Carl Josey continued his good start to life as a Leopard with 21 points, with Taner Adu adding 15 and Simon Cummings ten.
Josey opened the scoring with a pair at the foul line, and treys from Adu and Hernandez put the Big Cats 10-5 up as they closed out the first period with a 21-16 lead. Only Tom Martin troubled the scorers for Leopards in the opening two minutes of the second period as Warriors started with a 7-1 run to lead 23-22 and force a timeout from Youngblood.
A Cummings trey saw Leopards tie the game at 29 with 4:36 on the clock, and Duane Camille kept them in touch with a nice jump shot, but it was Warriors who closed out the half strongly to lead 38-33 going into the locker room at half-time.
Adu’s and-one sliced the margin to two point at the start of the second half, but when Youngblood was ejected after seemingly innocuous box-out at a free-throw, Leopards lost their shape and went into the final break trailing 60-53.
Josey buried a three to open the fourth period, but assistant coach Roger Malpass was forced to call a timeout with 4:27 on the clock and Leopards trailing 79-67 as Lewis and Pearson (who finished with 26 and 18 points respectively) were given too much space and continued to hit big shots. The break worked as Cummings and Josey both scored from downtown, but Leopards twice turned the ball over down the stretch, and Warriors held on for the win.
Leopards: G Hernandez (22), C Josey (21), T Adu (15), S Cummings (10), T Martin (5), L Brown (4), D Camille (2), R Youngblood, D Dunscombe
2007 – Leopards lose battle of Big Cats
Leopards 83 20,34,56) Taunton Tigers 90 (23,40,61)
A poor defensive display saw Leopards’ National Trophy hopes come to an end with a home defeat against Taunton on Saturday. Carl Henry-Latham led the Big Cats’ scoring with 23 points, but Jon Burnell’s side showed only glimpses of the form that gave them victory in the first home game of the competition.
“I really thought that our defence would win us the game, but we were very poor” admitted Burnell. “It doesn’t matter what level you’re playing at, if you don’t defend properly you won’t win the game.”
Leopards round off the competition on Saturday with a trip to league champions Worthing Thunder, but even if they caused an upset and won the game, they would need a mathematical miracle to qualify for the semi-final stage. With Nathan Wilson injured, coach Burnell gave a first start to England junior international Leigh Greenan, while Carl Latham-Henry returned after missing the previous week’s loss in Sheffield.
Leopards started well, with Gareth Laws and Sam Salter both draining treys in an 8-2 opening run, but was as good as it got for the home side. Tigers leveled the score at eight, and although the Big Cats hit back through Latham-Henry and a second Laws’ three, the visitors slowly took control and only some good foul shooting from Latham-Henry, Laws and Deng Deng kept Leopard in touch as they went into the first break trailing 23-20.
That deficit grew to double figures as Taunton opened with seven straight points before Latham-Henry broke the run. A Dan Howe basket put the visitors ahead by 12 with four first half minutes remaining before a Salter trey launched an 8-2 run to close the half out with Tigers leading 40-34.
In common with the loss at Sheffield, Burnell’s half-time words clearly had an effect, and scores from Latham-Henry and Fola Adeleke saw the deficit cut to two in the opening minute of the third period.
This proved to be the best stage of the game for Leopards, despite Greenan’s continual foul trouble, and scores from Greenan and Laws kept them in touch before a pair of Latham-Henry baskets gave them a 48-46 lead at the midway stage of the game.
The home side seemed to take their foot off the pedal having regained the lead, and Tigers hit back with an 11-2 run, and never trailed again. With Tigers holding a 57-50 lead with two minutes of quarter remaining, Laws scored back-to-back three pointers to cut the deficit to one before a trey from Alistair Bird and a Tim Clifford free-throw sent Taunton into the final break leading 61-56.
The sides exchanged baskets during the opening stages of the fourth period, with Leopards showing little sign of a comeback, and a Joe Andrews basket with four and a half minutes of the game remaining put Taunton 74-63 ahead,
This finally sparked the hosts into the life, and a trey from Salter sparked a 10-0 run to put them within a point. That proved to be as close as they came, as Andrew drained a pair of treys, and although a Laws three gave Leopards’ fans some hope in the final minute, the visitors closed the game out from the foul line.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 23, G Laws 20, F Adeleke 13, S Salter 11, L Greenan 6, L Volskis 5, D Deng 5, A Scotland-Williamson, M Jarvis (DNP), N Wilson (DNP), B Warden (DNP), M Johnson (DNP).