Leopards wrapped up their pre-Christmas programme with a come-from-behind 79-74 victory against Westminster Warriors on Sunday .
In front of a big crowd at Brentwood, the Big Cats fought off a determined Warriors side to make it four wins from the first seven games in their defence of the vcars.co.uk Division One title .
American forward Greg Hernandez led the way with a 28 point, 17 rebound double-double as he played all 40 minutes of the game.
Guard Simon Cummings added 23 points and seven rebounds for a Leopards side who were without player-coach Robert Youngblood on the court . Taner Adu finished with 18 points and also added seven boards, while Carl Josey fought off a poor shooting display to pull down ten rebounds as Leopards comfortably won the battle of the boards 60-37 .
Hernandez and Adu put Leopards 4-0 up in the opening minute, but Warriors replied with 12 straight points to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish until the final eight minutes of the game .
Hernandez broke the run, but that was the only time Leopards troubled the scorers for seven minutes, and it was only four free-throws from the big man that kept Leopards in touch as they went into the first break trailing 22-10 after Jamelle Davis’ needles foul on the buzzer saw Prince Lartey converted two of his three free-throws. .
Cummings opened the second period scoring from the foul line, but the closest Leopards came to the visitors was five points when Josey hit a jump shot and although Cummings added a late free-throw, the Big Cats trailed 41-32 going into the locker room .
It was similar story in the third period as Yannick Bulambwe extended the visitors’ lead to 12 early in the half, and the closest the Big Cats came was at the four minute mark when Hernandez scored off Adu’s assist .
The Big Cats railed 60-54 at the final break, but Adu sliced that lead to two with a pair of drives to the basket before Cummings levelled the score at the eight minute mark .
Adu gave Leopards their first lead since the opening minute with a pair of free-throws to complete the 8-0 run, but he teams were still level going into final three minutes .
Cummings and Jonathan Johnson exchanged baskets to tie the game at 71 with two minutes remaining, before Hernandez gave Leopards a lead they would never lose with a free-throw with 1:44 remaining.
Cummings also hit one at the foul line, and although Johnson kept his side in touch, Cummings and Tom Martin wrapped things up at the free-throw line.
2011 – Leopards outlast Warriors
Leopards 78 (14,33,46,67) Westminster Warriors 76 (14,25,46,67)
THEY did it the hard way again, but Leopards maintained their good form with a 78-76 overtime victory against Westminster Warriors on Friday. Dejan Mihevc’s team let a 16 point lead slip as the visitors forced them into the extra period before John Lister hit the winning shot seven seconds from time.
Vernon Teel finished with his third triple-double of the season, adding 15 points and ten assists to his 28 points as he played all 45 minutes. Lister added 22 points and Krubally finished with 16 points and 18 boards despite fouling out after picking up three offensive fouls.
Teel opened the scoring, but it was the visitors who controlled the opening stages as Yannick Bulambwe made it a six point game with six minutes gone, and Zak Wells picked his third foul in under five minutes. A pair of Teel free-throws cut the deficit but Bulambwe sunk a trey to put his side 12-5 up before scores from Lister and Krubally sparked a 9-2 finish to the quarter, with Lister sending the hosts in to the first break tied at 14 with a three-pointer.
Former Leopard Kenroy Wood hit a three to open the second period scoring, but baskets from Teel and David Buchberger gave the Big Cats a lead they never lost in the half, and Krubally wrapped up the scoring when he grabbed Teel’s miss to send Leopards into the locker room 33-25 ahead.
Lister kept Leopards ahead with their first two baskets of the second half, and a Bradley Wilkinson basket following an offensive rebound saw that lead grow to 16 midway through the third quarter. However, in common with the previous home win against Bristol, Leopards relaxed after that and Laken Popoola launched a 19-run 3 in the final four minutes of the period to send the teams into the fourth quarter tied at 46.
Jon Johnson hit a trey to put Warriors ahead at the start of the fourth period, and Leopards trailed until the 5:43 mark when Teel hit a pair at the foul line to give them a 53-52 lead. Another Lister trey saw Leopards 60-56 up with 2:15 remaining, and they were up by four heading into the final 30 seconds, but they failed to stop Popoola’s repeated drives to the basket as Warriors sent into overtime.
Teel opened the extra period scoring before providing the assist for Wilkinson to make it a four point game but a pair of Bulambwe free-throws saw the teams still tied going into the final minute. A Teel steal and score saw Leopards up by two with 33 seconds on the clock only to see Johnson level things with 14 seconds remaining before Teel set Lister up for a perfect winner.
Leopards: V Teel (28), J Lister (22), O Krubally (16), B Wilkinson (7), D Buchberger (4), Z Wells (1), L Volskis, J Lockwood, D Norton, S Bublys, M Adomaitis (DNP), J Cabey (DNP)
The Big Cats turned the ball over 27 times and conceded 29 points from those errors, and that was clearly the difference between Thomas Baker’s team and the side who have opened the season with ten straight league wins .
Luke Mascall-Wright led the way for the home side with 21 points, but Asante Sandiford was the only other Leopard in double figures as he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds for a side missing American KJ Lee .
Leopards kept the high-scoring Herm Senor relatively quiet as he finished with 16 points, nine assists and eight boards, but a 25 point, 11 rebound double-double by fellow American Travis Charles helped the visitors into the final .
Lee Hodges opened the scoring for Leopards, but they trailed for much of the first period before Rory Winter launched a 6-0 run to close out the period, and captain Sam Newman hit a pair at the foul line to give Leopards a 22-21 lead at the first break .
Findley Wood opened the second period with a three-pointer to make it a four point , and scores from Newman and Sandiford left Leopards 29-25 ahead with four and half minutes gone .
But Tayo Oyefusi’ trey launched an 11-0 run for the visittors before Hodges and Mascall-Wright both split pairs of free-throws to cut the deficit to 38-32 going into the locker room .
Mascall-Wright opened the second on fire, hitting a pair of triples and a long jump shot, and with Sandiford scoring a lay-up, Leopards rushed into a 42-38 lead with a 10-0 run .
They were still ahead going into the final three minutes of the third period following a pair of Mascall-Wright free-throws, but Sandiford picked up his fourth (and second debateable offensive) foul and was forced to sit down Solent’s Nick Lewis launched an 8-2 run to give Solent a 54-48 lead heading into the final period .
And they opened the fourth quarter with a barraged of treys as Chris Scarlett – who was largely anonymous for the rest of the game – scored three times from the Land of Plenty before Lewis capped a 15-0 run to put the visitors 64-48 ahead with six minutes remaining .
A timeout and the introduction of Andre Lavinier saw the youngster again make an immediate hit with a pair of treys but with Hodges fouling out and Sandiford joining him on the bench, treys from Mascall-Wright and Chuck Duru could only keep the hosts in touch as Kestrels ran out the clock to seal a place in the final .
2001 – Payne-ful end in Sheffield
Westfield Sharks Sheffield 91 (17,40,49,78)
Nate Reinking 30, Peter Scanlebury 23, Justin Phoenix 13
DG London Leopards Kool Kats 89 (20,43,59,78)
Maurice Robinson 19, Rod Brown 16, Rico Alderson 15
BBL Championship @ Ponds Forge ISC
Westfield Sharks Sheffield won a thrilling overtime battle with DG London Leopards Kool Kats in the BBL Championship on Sunday afternoon.
Englishman Mike Payne bagged a crucial three pointer with just five seconds on the clock to secure a 91-89 victory for the Sharks after a pulsating game.
Earlier, Leopards had led for much of the game, but Sharks bagged a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter and in the dying seconds of regulation time Nate Reinking scored four times from the foul line to put Sharks ahead 78-75.
A fantastic three pointer from Leopards star Rico Alderson forced the extra period and although Sharks’ Lynard Stewart scored the first six points of the period, Leopards fought back until Payne’s sensational winning shot.
2000 – Heartbreak at the Palace