On this day – Nov 11


Greg Hernandez led the way with a 21 point, 15 rebound double-double as Leopards won a tight game 62-59 against Leicester Warriors, on Sunday .

The Big Cats survived a late comeback from the visitors before wrapping up their second vcars.co.uk Division One points.

Taner Adu added 17 points and four assists, while Carl Josey chipped in with ten points and five rebounds . Player/coach Robert Youngblood only managed one point, but added seven assists, nine rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes of action.

Leopards started slowly, with only Adu getting on the scoresheet as Warriors built a 14-4 lead after six and a half minutes .

Adu doubled his tally to bring the Big Cats within six before Hernandez picked up the scoring mantle, hitting five straight points including an and-one as the Leicester lead was reduced to 14-13 at the first break .

Simon Cummings and Lawrence Brown extended the run to 13-0 to put Leopards up by three points before Emile Hopkins broke the tear.

Scores from Josey and Hernandez kept Leopards in front, but it was Eugene Pettaway who scored the final basket of a low-scoring half to cut the hosts lead to 27-26 going into the locker room .

Cummings hit a single free-throw to open the second half before Josey buried a trey and Adu made it a seven point game with 7:28 on the clock.

The Big Cats remained in control, and Josey again scored from downtown to put them 49-38 with 1:31 remaining in the third period only to see Warriors score the final four points of the stanza to make it a seven point game going into the final break .

2007 – Laws shoots Leopards into quarter-finals

Leopards 116 (26,49,78) BCU Wolverhampton 95 (18,43,63)
A season-high 34 points from Gareth Laws helped Leopards power their way into the National Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable victory against BCU Wolverhampton at Wodson Park, on Sunday.
With Stix Bright adding 18 points, the Big Cats never looked in trouble against the Division Two side, although it wasn’t until the early stages of the fourth period that the home side finally wrapped the game up.
Laws and Bright opened the scoring for the home side with three point plays to put the Big Cats 6-0, before five N Fearon points cut their lead back to one. That was as close as the visitors ever came, though, and two more Laws treys in a 10-0 run saw the Big Cats open a 16-5 lead.
As was to prove the case for most of the game, the visitors did not lay down, however, and despite further three-pointers from Laws and Sam Salter, the Wolves outscored the home side 13-10 in the final four minutes to send Leopards into the first break with a 26-18 lead.
Scores from Matt Eames and Lee McCarthy kept Leopards in the lead despite Wolves outscoring them 9-4 during the opening three minutes of the second period. An 8-2 run capped by Laws’ fifth trey of the night saw Leopards lead 38-29, and although Robin Hall broke the run with a three, six unanswered points from the hosts stretch their lead to 12. This should have been the stage where Leopards pulled away, but some poor shot selection saw them scoreless for the final two minutes of the half, and Wolves went an 8-0 run as the Big Cats reached half-time with a 49-43 lead.
Leopards started the second half strongly, scoring 11 of the first 13 points, with Carl Latham-Henry and Laws both converting three-point plays as they opened a 15-point lead. Six unanswered Wolves points got them back within ten, and it took a three point play from Salter to send Leopards into the final break with a 78-63 lead.
Salter and Fearon exchanged three pointers in the opening minute of the quarter, before an 11-2 run in which all of the starting five scored finally wrapped up the game for Leopards as they led 94-70 at the midway stage of the quarter. Laws drained his eighth three-pointer of the night before coach Jon Burnell finished the game with his bench players in action, with all ten of the roster getting on the scoresheet before Lukas Volskis completed the scoring to give Leopards a home game against Worthing on Sunday November 25.
Leopards: G Laws 34, A Bright 18, C Latham-Henry 17, L McCarthy 14, S Salter 9, M Eames 8, B Warden 6, F Adeleke 5, L Volskis 3, M Jarvis 2.


mike-v-rocketsAn excellent performance from a depleted Leopards’ team wasn’t enough as Reading Rockets finished strongly to win 90-73, on Friday .

With new-boys Perry Lawson and Darrell Bethune unavailable, a Big Cats’ side who were without Steve Ogunjimi who was serving a one-game suspension following his ejection at Kent Crusaders suffered further problems in the warm-up .

Forward Justin Hitchman aggravated a foot injury and played no part in the game, while Jamie Hayes suffered a cut to the head but did play in the game . And by the end of the third period the home side were down to seven fit players as Dominic Scott-Robinson suffered a broken nose.Essex Leopards v Reading Rockets 11 Nov 2016;

But for all of that, led by veteran Mike Martin who finished with 26 points and eight rebounds the hosts battled throughout before running out of steam going down the stretch .

Hayes and Dougie Bennett each added 13 points while AJ Roberts was two rebounds short of the triple-double with ten points and 11 boards.

Craig Ponder gave Rockets the lead with the opening score of the game, before Richards replied with a  triple and Martin converted a dunk and a jump shot .

Hayes, who continued his run of good games for the home side, hit a pair of three-pointers as Leopards led 13-8 midway through the period and Tosin Oyelese made it a seven-point game with a jumper off Hayes’ assist before  Bennett also converted from downtown .

Essex Leopards v Reading Rockets 11 Nov 2016; AJ Roberts;Scores from Bennett and Martin kept the home side ahead before the former drained the Land of Plenty off Roberts’ assist to send his side into the first break 28-16 ahead .

That lead quickly evaporated as Ponder opened the second period with ten straight points in the first two minutes before his one-man scoring spree was ended by a pair of Martin free-throws before the new Leopards’ captain added a jump shot off Scott-Robinson’s assist .

Essex Leopards v Reading Rockets 11 Nov 2016; Shaquille Lewis;But Ponder continued to keep his side in the game with another five points to give them their first lead since the early stages, 33-32 with 5:57 on the clock and the rest of the half proved to be nip-and-tuck before Scott Robinson hit a trey to send Leopards into the locker room with a 43-42 lead .

Hooper and Martin exchanged baskets to open the third period, and the quarter proved to be a tight one, with Roberts’ lay-up giving his side a 53-50 lead at the mid-point and the American guard put his side up by five with three minutes left before a strong finish to the stanza saw Rocket go into the final break leading 64-58 as Ponder beat the buzzer with a long three .

Martin scored his side’s first six points of the fourth period to keep them within three points but that was as good as it got for the Big Cats, and their tired legs showed as Rockets wrapped up the victory.

Ponder finished with 34 points in a full 40 minutes, with his fellow American Chris Hooper adding 27 points and Danny Carter chipping in with 17 points and eight boards.


John ShodipoLevett Essex Leopards were made to pay for a poor start as they went down 93-79 at promotion rivals Thames Valley Cavaliers, on Saturday .
The home side raced into a 26-10 lead late in the first period giving the visitors a mountain to climb, but coach Thomas Baker was pleased with how his side reacted despite the poor start: “It was a much better performance overall this time round against Thames Valley” he said .
“A poor start meant we were chasing the game which ultimately cost us the result in the latter stages. We showed we can cause teams problems with the way we play and getting the game back to a 1 point, I felt we were going to go on from there and win the game . As always there are things we can improve, however I saw how resilient my guys can be and we showed grit and toughness to compete throughout which is what we will need to do in the upcoming games.”
To add to the Big Cats’ woes, guard Will Ashby was ejected in the fourth period for his second intentional foul as the referees appeared to have a different interpretation of the rules to any other game Leopards have played this season .
Martell McLemore opened the scoring with an ally-oop after just five seconds , and Jamie Hayes was the only Leopard to bother the scorer as Cavs moved into an 8-2 lead .
Debutant Jerrel Laine scored within two seconds of entering the game, but the hosts took control before a trey and a dunk from Oaklands youngster Jordan George finally got Leopards moving as they closed the first period on a 5-0 run to trail by 11 .
The visitors continued that form with Korry Callum opening the second period scoring before as six straight John Shodipo points capped a 10-2 run to make it three point game with three minutes gone .
From there on it was nip and tuck with Shodipo scoring from downtown and Callum hitting three free-throws having been fouled in the act of shooting .
A Laine trey made it a three point game with 90 seconds remaining but Leopards ended the half 44-37 down as a couple of poor decisions down the stretch cost them .
A pair of Shodipo baskets kept Leopards in touch early in the second half before Ashby picked up his first unsportsmanlike foul – the Big Cats somehow managed to pick up four during the game – but Laine’s jump shot brought them within a point of the hosts going into the final two minutes of the third period .
That was as good as it got for the visitors as a series of calls went against them and – as if by magic – George was called for an unsportsmanlike foul immediately after the visitors moved within a point and the hosts closed out the half on a 8-3 run to lead 68-62 at the final break.
McLemore opened the fourth period with a triple, and although Shodipo and Callum kept the Big Cats in touch at the foul line and when Ashby left the game seven minutes from time with Leopards trailing by eight the hosts took control to see out the win.
Shodipo led the way for the Big Cats, finishing with nine rebounds to go with his double-double, while captain Dougie Bennett added 14 points. Laine and Callum came off the bench to finish with 12 and 11 points respectively, the latter adding five rebounds. Ashby had a team high five assists to go with his seven points before his early departure. McLemore led the hosts with 21 points, while Phil Perre – who played briefly with the old Leopards in the late 1990s – and Robert Banks added 18 apiece.

2011 – Riders too strong for Big Cats

Leopards 58 (15,29,40) Leicester Riders 96 (32,52,76)

INJURY-hit Leopards found high-flyers Leicester Riders too tough as their BBL Trophy adventure ended with a heavy defeat. Coach Dejan Mihevc was without both American forward Ousman Krubally and shooting guard David Buchberger as both players sat out with knee injuries, and the loss of two of their senior players clearly hurt the Big Cats.

It was men against boys for much of Friday’s game against Riders as Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan stole the show with 18 points in 22 minutes.

Vernon Teel kept Leopards in touch in the early stages, but a 14-2 run in the opening period saw Riders lead 32-15 at the first break. They extended that lead to 52-29 at half-time and 76-40 at the final break as the Riders’ lead peaked at 42 before the Big Cats managed slow the scoring down in the fourth period.

Teel continued his fine season with 21 points, with John Lister and Lukas Volskis each adding seven.

While clearly over-matched, Leopards weren’t helped by an uneven foul count. At half-time they had been called 17 fouls, while Riders had (apparently) committed just three, and early in the second half Lister had been called for more fouls than the entire Leicester team. It finished with a 27-7 foul count.

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