On this day – Dec 11

2011 – Leopards through to final

Tees Valley Mohawks 84 (33,58,72) Leopards 96 (29,50,71)

VERNON Teel led Leopards to their second ever National Cup final as the Big Cats fought back from 13 points down to win 96-84 at Tees Valley Mohawks on Sunday. Teel scored 21 of Leopards’ 25 points in the final quarter to finish with 49 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists to set up a meeting with Bristol Academy Flyers in January.

The Big Cats had to withstand an awesome three point shooting performance from the home side in the first half as they hit 72 percent of their shots from downtown to lead 58-50 going into the locker room at half-time. It ended a run of five straight semi-final defeats for the Big Cats as they set up a final date at Ponds Forge in Sheffield on January 29.

Ousman Krubally added 16 points and eight rebounds despite again suffering with foul trouble , with David Buchberger finishing with 14 points, three assists and three steals.

Krubally opened the scoring off of Zak Wells’ assist, but a curious offensive foul call on Dominic Norton saw Mohawks take a lead they held until the fourth quarter. The home side seemed to be able to score from anywhere outside the arc as they hit Leopards with a barrage of treys, and the Big Cats trailed 31-18 with 90 seconds remaining in the period after a DeMarcus Berry trey.

But Wells scored off a Teel assist, and with Buchberger hitting five points, Leopards went on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 33-29 at the first break. Krubally made it a four point game with the first score of the second period, but an 8-0 run saw Mohawks regain the initiative and they went into the locker room 58-50 ahead after David Glavan wrapped up the first half scoring with yet another three-pointer.

Well scored off Lister’s assist to open the second half, and although the Mohawks’ lead hovered around the six mark for mot of the period, Leopards tightened up their defence and stopped the seemingly endless threes from the hosts before Krubally and Teel both scored to cut the deficit to 72-71, at the final break.

Bradley Wilkinson hit a pair at the foul line to open the fourth period, and Leopards never trailed again. The Big Cats outscored the hosts 14-3 in the first five minutes of the period with Teel seemingly everywhere, and although Ike Attah made it a three point game with 4:14 on the clock, Teel replied with a three and a two to make it 88-80 with 3:20 remaining.

Ousman Krubally fouled out with three minutes remaining having picked up a strange offensive foul for his fourth and Jean-Louis Bomolo cut the visitors’ lead to 88-82 with three minutes remaining. Seven straight Teel points in the final minute ended the game as a contest and Leopards were left to make the long trip home knowing they are one win away from lifting the oldest piece of silverware in English basketball.

Leopards: V Teel (49), O Krubally (16), D Buchberger (14), B Wilkinson (8), Z Wells (6), L Volskis (3), J Lister, J Lockwood, D Norton, S Bublys.

2004 – Capital edged out in thriller

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