The Big Cats led from tip-to-buzzer with Lawrence Brown opening the scoring before Albert Margai doubled the lead, and Will Ashby and Dave Ajumobi hit back-to-back threes . Ajumobi wrapped up the 12-0 start to the game, and although the visitors replied with a 6-0 run of their own, captain Margai hit the final basket of the first period to put his side 20-12 ahead .
Lukas Winegarner opened the second period scoring, and five straight Byron Richards’ points following from three free-throws from Ajumobi stretched the lead to 37-18 with 3:53 on the clock before Westminster scored the final seven points of the half to cut the lead to 12 going into the locker room .
Margai opened the third period scoring and Ajumobi made it a 15-point game at the five minute mark when he drained from the Land of Plenty .
Leopards kept their lead in double figures throughout the quarter before Margai capped a 10-2 run at the foul line to send his side into the final break 58-38 ahead .
Tosin Oyelese made it a 22-point game with the opening basket of the fourth period before Margai and Winegarner added to the scoreline.
The lead peaked at 26 on a Brown hook shot with 3:11 on the clock as Leopards closed out their third win in the National Trophy .
With Basketball England declaring last week’s loss at Kent Crusaders null and void due to a sub-standard court, Leopards now need two points from their remaining three Trophy games to seal top spot in the group and home court advantage in the quarter-final and, potentially, in the semi-final of the competition they won in 2013 .
Margai and Richards led the way with 14 points apiece, with Margai adding seven assists. Will Ashby and Adjumobi finished with 11 points each, with the latter pulling down seven rebounds .
Swedish centre Winegarner marked his home debut with a 12 rebound, ten point double as all nine Leopards got on the scoresheet and logged at least 17 minutes playing time . Yannick Bulumbwe and Michael Odomosa led Warriors with 14 and 12 points respectively, but their team were out-rebounded 56-34 as their quarter-final hopes came to an end.
2008 – Laws overcomes stubborn Celts
Cardiff Celts 79 (25,43,63) Leopards 93 (22,40,68)
A season high 32 points from Gareth Laws helped Leopards overcome a stubborn Cardiff Celts side to maintain the Big Cats unbeaten start to the season, on Saturday. Laws poured in 16 points in the third period alone as he showed the kind of form which helped win the club’s MVP award last season.
Croatian forward Hrvoje Pervan continued his excellent start to life in a Leopards’ vest by scoring 29 points as he and Laws combined for 65 percent of the visitors’ points. Leigh Greenan added 12 points, while point guard Carl Latham-Henry marked his return from injury by coming off the bench to finish with ten.
Facing a side who were coming off hammerings at local rivals Bristol and Taunton, Cardiff opened with a Mike Gregory three pointer – only to see Pervan reply at the other end. The former Croatian junior international proved the Big Cats’ main offensive threat in the first period, finishing with 12 points, but despite treys from Sam Salter and Laws, Cardiff scored the final six points of the opening period to overturn a 22-19 Leopards’ lead and go into the first break 25-22 ahead.
That lead grew to six and Nic Horrocks opened the second period with a trey, and it took six points from Greenan to keep Leopards in touch as Celts led 35-29 at the midway stage of the quarter. Back-to-back treys from Laws trimmed the deficit to four before Latham-Henry scored his first points of the season.
An “and-one” gave the visitors a 41-40 going into the final minute of the half, but scores from player/coach Chris Horrocks and Asa White sent the Welsh team into the locker room with a 43-40 lead.
The second half saw Leopards finally produce the kind of basketball that has seen them reel off seven straight wins in all competitions. Parks opened the scoring for Celts with a single free-throw, but a Pervan basket followed by another Laws three gave Leopards the lead.
That score from the Land of Plenty was the first of 11 straight Leopards points scored by Laws, and although Celts rallied to level the score with six unanswered points, another from three from Laws put Leopards back in the lead before Latham-Henry drove to the basket to score the points to put the Big Cats 68-63 ahead at the final break.
Back-to-back three points from Laws – taking his tally to eight for the game – saw Leopards open a double digit lead with four minutes remaining, 78-67, and with Pervan adding ten points in the final quarter the Big Cats closed out the victory to remain joint top of the National Trophy Pool One table.
Leopards: G Laws 32, H Pervan 29, L Greenan 12, C Latham-Henry 10, S Salter 3, B Wilkinson 3, K Wood 2, L Volskis 2.