On this day – Dec 6

2014 – LEOPARDS WIN OVERTIME THRILLER

dave v dagenhamThe battle of the top two sides in Division One certainly lived up to its billing as Leopards escaped from Derby with a 92-89 win .

The Big Cats have never made things easy for themselves this season, with all five league wins coming by four or less points, but an undermanned visiting side can certainly feel proud of a victory against a team who had started the league season with eight wins from nine games .

Dave Ajumobi led the Big Cats’ scoring for the fifth time this season, finishing with a 23 point, 11 rebound double-double and adding seven assists as well as converting the three point play which sent the game into overtime .

Albert Margai and Will Ashby each finished with 18 points and six assists, with the former adding four rebounds, while Courtney Van Beest had 16 points to go with his six boards . American pair Chris Shalvoy and Dorr led the home side with 24 and 18 points respectively, with former England junior Lee Goldsbrough adding 15.

The hosts started strongly, taking a 7-1 lead after just 70 seconds before Margai’s three settled the Big Cats down a triple from Ashby gave them a 16-13 lead with 6:18 on the clock .Essex Leopards v Barking Abbey, 21 Sept 2014; Albert Margai

That proved to be the only time Leopards led in the first period as Dorr hit a trey to put his side 30-21 ahead before a Van Beest lay-up and a three from Ajumobi cut the deficit to 30-26 at the first break .

Scores from Ashby and Lawrence Brown kept the margin at two early in the second period but the hosts’ lead hit the nine mark on a John Gould treble and although Ajumobi made it a one point game with 26 seconds remaining in the half, Shalvoy beat the buzzer to send his side into the locker room with a 50-47 lead .

Ajumobi opened the third period scoring and treys from Lukas Winegarner and Ashby helped Leopards go on an 8-0 run to take a 57-54 lead with four minutes gone . The next five minutes saw the teams exchange baskets before Derby finished the period strongly with five points in last minute to lead 70-64 going into the fourth quarter .

ashby v newhamA John Stewart trey followed by a technical foul on Ashby saw that lead balloon to 73-64 after 90 fourth period seconds, and when Shalvoy drained a three with seven minutes on the clock to put his side 14 up, the game looked over .

But Leopards have repeatedly shown they can overcome big deficits this season and Van Beest launched an 8-3 run to get the game back into single figures with 4:12 remaining. They still trailed by nine going into the final four minutes before Van Beest against started a run as Leopards hit 11 of the final 13 points to take the game into overtime.

Back-to-back Margai scores from the Land of Plenty made it a one point game with two minutes left before Lamar Morrison made it 85-82 with 45 seconds left. For the second successive game it was Ajumobi who came up with the big play at the end, hitting the shot as Stewart fouled him and then converting the free throw to tie the game before some defence set the game into an extra period.

Neither side troubled the scorer until 2:38 had elapsed in overtime when Ronnie Baker hit a big three to give the visitors a lead they would never relinquish.

After Van Beest had missed a pair of charity shots, Dorr hit a pair at the free-throw line to cut the lead to one with 19 seconds remaining. With Derby forced to foul, Margai also missed two free-throws, but Winegarner grabbed the rebound and when Margai went back to foul line he made no mistake.

Leopards chose to foul Shavoy rather than let the hosts attempt a three, and although he hit both shots, Winegarner iced the win at the free-throw stripe.

2015 – LEOPARDS STUN LITUANICA

Essex Leopards v Derby Trailblazers, 15 Nov 2015; Ladi Brown;Levett Essex Leopards ended London Lituanica’s 37 home game winning streak with a stunning 89-68 victory, on Sunday .

The newly-promoted Lithuanian side were unbeaten in league games but after a quiet start, they were blown away by the Big Cats’ best performance of the season as they chalked up their third straight win .

The home side didn’t help themselves by collecting five technical fouls, although by the time T Grybauskas was ejected after picking up three T’s in under 20 seconds midway through the fourth period Steve Ogunjimi’s team were well on their way to their fifth league win of the campaign .

Lituancia scored the first two baskets of the game but Leopards’ captain Albert Margai got his side off the mark and launched a 15-2 run that saw Ladi Brown hit eight points, and the visitors never looked back .

Back-to-back scores from Connor Stuart sent the Big Cats into the first break with a 24- 13 lead and they stayed comfortably ahead throughout the second period as four straight points from both Will Ashby and Justin Hitchman saw them lead 47-30 going into the half-time lead .Essex Leopards v Westminster Warriors 26 Sep 2015; Justin Hitchman;

The third period proved to be a tough one for the Leopards and an 11-0 run saw the hosts cut their lead to three points before Brown sunk a trey in a 7-0 run to close the quarter and send them into the final break with a 63-53 lead .

Back-to-back threes from Dougie Bennett saw the Big Cats stay ahead at the start of the fourth quarter, and although former Leopard Lukas Volskis also struck from downtown, scores from Bennett and Ashby put their side 75-61 ahead with five minutes remaining .

Any thoughts that the London side would go down quietly when Trepocka slammed Jamie Hayes into the wall behind the basket as he attempted a lay-up . It appeared to be an easy call for the referees, but Grybauskas took umbrage and got himself thrown out, and with Hayes unable to continue, Tom Martin hit four of the resulting free-throws as Leopards closed out the win on a 14-6 run .

Brown led his team with 21 points, with Hitchman finishing with 11 and both Ashby and Bennett adding ten apiece as all ten Leopards got on the scoreboard .

2008 – Leopards win in Wales

Cardiff Celts 69 (18,38,55) Leopards 89 (20,40,60)
A fine fourth period performance from point guard Lucas Volskis helped Leopards maintain their unbeaten start with a victory at Cardiff, on Saturday. Nineteen-year-old Volskis came off the bench to score 13 points in the final quarter on his way to a team-high 20 points.
Leopards rushed through the signings of American shooting guard Carl McNally, making two trips to Calais and one to Sheffield to get him registered for the game, and he rewarded them with 16 points on his debut. The Big Cats had three other players in double figures, with Bradley Wilkinson having one of his best games since joining in the summer to finish on 13 points. Gareth Laws also had 13, with Carl Latham-Henry adding 12 and Lee McCarthy adding eight.
Coach Jon Burnell had praise for Volskis: “Lukas looks like he could give us a real spark off the bench. Bradley had a really good game, as well, and if we ever get to the point of having everyone fit, we have a lot of different options.”
Despite being without Hrvoje Pervan and Robert Gilchrist, Leopards started well, with Russell Jordan opening their scoring before a pair of Laws three-pointers put them 8-7 ahead at the midway stage of the first period. McNally scored his first points in a Leopards’ vest with a pair of free-throws before a 7-2 run capped by a Chris Horrocks trey gave Cardiff a 14-12 lead.
The visitors regrouped, and with Latham-Henry scoring four points, Leopards went into the first break with a 20-18 lead. The second period proved to be nip and tuck, and despite some excellent work in the paint by Wilkinson and a Latham-Henry trey, Cardiff led 33-29 with three minutes remaining. A pair of Wilkinson free-throws launched a 9-0 run, and with Volskis adding five points, Leopards went into the half-time break with a 40-38 advantage.
Solomon Mills levelled the score for Cardiff with the first play of the second half, but Leopards replied with 6-0 run to open a 46-40 lead.
It appeared that the visitors would take control of the game at that point, but Cardiff hung in and although they were never on level terms again, it took three-pointers from Volskis, Latham-Henry and Laws to put the Big Cats ahead by five going into the final break.
Laws opened the fourth quarter scoring with a trey, only to see Nic Horrocks reply with a three-pointer at the other end.At that point Volskis took over, with a pair of three pointers split by three successful free-throws after being
With Wilkinson also adding a pair from the charity stripe in a 12-3 run, Leopards opened up a 75-61 lead with five minutes remaining. Although Miles broke their run with a three-pointer, Cardiff never had enough firepower to claw back that advantage, and they closed out the game with a 6-2 run to collect their third league win of the season.
Leopards: L Volskis 20, C McNally 16, B Wilkinson 13, G Laws 13, C Latham-Henry 12, L McCarthy 8, L Greenan 4, R Jordan 3, K Wood, R Gilchrist (DNP), T Webb (DNP).

1997
Derby Storm 95
Adidas Greater London Leopards 118
Budweiser British Basketball League

@ Moorways Leisure Centre

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