It was an unlikely victory as the home side trailed for virtually all of normal time before a three point play from Justin Hitchman tied the game at 60 with 51 seconds on the clock and the same player split a pair of free-throws to cap a 9-0 run and put Leopards ahead by one heading into the final 30 seconds .
Carl Pearson drained a three to put the visitors back up by two, but Ladi Brown levelled things off an Ashby assist with 13 seconds remaining and Leopards played some tough defence to send the game into overtime .
Warriors scored the first point of the extra period but Brown drained a trey to launch a 12-3 run which effectively wrapped the game up for the home side .
Will Ashby completed a good weekend with 16 points while Brown added 14 and Courtney Van Beest finished with a 12 point, 11 rebound double-double .
Hitchman finished with ten points and four rebounds, while Albert Margai took his assist tally to 15 for the weekend with eight, adding six points and as many rebounds,
A tight start to the game had seen the teams tied on 12 after six minutes following a Tom Martin trey before a tip-in from Connor Stuart gave the Big Cats their only lead of the first half at 16-14 only to see Warriors close out the period on a 7-0 run to lead by five at the first break .
Delaney Powell opened the second quarter scoring with a jump shot before Kieran Mills made it a ten point game with a trey and it took four and a half minutes before Courtney Van Beest troubled the scorers for Leopards with a tip-on .
Brian Nguru hit a trey and a jump shot to cut the deficit to three but Leopards trailed by ten again going into the final two minutes of the half before Ashby hit a triple to spark a 7-0 run that saw Stuart and Hitchman dunk the ball home to cut Warriors’ lead to 33-30 going into the locker room .
The third period proved to be a low-scoring one, with Leopards only having a single free-throw from Hitchman in the first five minutes as they were outscored 11-1, and they didn’t manage a single field goal in the quarter before a pair of free-throws from Brown and Martin sent them into the fourth period trailing 46-36 .
Tosin Oyelese opened the fourth period scoring, but there was no sign of a comeback as Warriors led 55-44 with just over five minutes remaining . A 6-0 run capped by an Ashby score dragged Leopards back into the game at 55-50 with 4:40 on the clock but Andrew Hambleton hit what appeared to be a dagger three to put his side back up by eight. It was Ashby who launched the run the saw claw their way back into the game with a massive dunk from Hitchman proving the highlight as Leopards set up the thrilling finish.
Jason Tucker led Warriors with a 19 point, ten rebound double-double while Leome Francis was the only other visitor in double figures with ten points.
2001 – Trophy mauling by Bears
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 87 (20,34,62)
Rod Brown 23, Mo Robinson 20, Rico Alderson 19
Brighton Bears 103 (19,47,73)
Albert White 30, Sterling Davis 23, Wilbur Johnson 14
BBL Trophy, group A @ Brentwood Leisure Centre
Brighton Bears took a huge step towards booking their berth in the BBL Trophy semi finals with a convincing 103-87 success over the London Leopards on Thursday night.
The Leopards started the brighter posting an early 11-3 run but after the Bears had levelled the game early in the second quarter a 16-2 tear gave them a double figure advantage which they rarely relinquished.
Bears’ Albert White and Sterling Davis both posted double-doubles.
2009 – Reading Rockets 85 Leopards 98
EBL Division One @ Rivermead LC
2008 – London Leopards 72 Reading Rockets 75
National Cup quarter-final @ Wodson Park