Another thriller at the Brentwood Centre saw Leopards reach the National Cup quarter-final with a 70-69 win against Westminster Warriors, on Sunday .
The victory sets up a clash with Derby Trailblazers at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday November 15.
The Big Cats started well against a side who had opened the season with seven wins from nine games and a barrage of treys from Will Ashby and Ladi Brown helped them open a 15-4 lead .
Warriors replied with eight unanswered points, and the two sides were virtually inseparable for the rest of the game with 11 ties and six lead changes, although the biggest lead for the visitors was just two points .
Yanick Bulumbwe gave Warriors their first lead of the game with the opening score of the second period with Jamie Hayes replying .
The biggest lead of the second quarter came when Brown hit a jump shot to make it 31-28 with three minutes remaining before captain Albert Margai sent his side into the locker room with a 33-30 lead .
Joshua Palmer, who led Warriors with 20 points and eight rebounds, drilled a three to tie the score again at the start of the second half before Tonin Oyelese and Abraham Ekperuoh exchanged baskets to set the tone for the period .The largest margin of the first eight minutes of the quarter was two points before six straight Courtney Van Bees hit six straight points to give Leopards a lead they would never lose .
The Big Cats led 55-48 going into the final break before a three from former Leopard Mantis Adomantis made it a three point game early in the fourth period .
Adomantis hit another triple to cut Leopards’ lead to 59-57 with five minutes on the clock before a jump shot followed by a trey from England junior international Evan Walshe took the lead out to 59-52 with three fourth quarter minutes remaining .
Oyelese made it a three point game going into the final minute before Palmer pulled his side back within a point with a pair of free-throws and Leopards turned the ball over with seven seconds remaining .
Warriors called a timeout with four seconds left on the clock, and as they tried a game winning score, Brown blocked the shot and threw the ball down the court to run out time and send Leopards into the quarter-finals.
Ashby led a balanced scoring effort with 15 points, with Van Beest adding 12 points and seven rebounds, while Oyelese and Brown each finishing with ten points.
In a game blighted by the referees’ whistles with 49 fouls called and 50 free throws former Warrior Justin Hitchman was limited to just 17 minutes of action before fouling out with two minutes remaining as he was held to just two points and as many rebounds.
2000 – Leopards win battle of the big cats