2008 – Leopards survive fight-back
Leopards 89 (28,58,70) Sheffield Arrows 84 (23,44,68)
Leopards survived a second half fight-back from Sheffield to remain unbeaten in EBL Division One. Jon Burnell’s team were ahead by 14 at half-time, but only scored 12 points in the third period as fourth placed Arrows held them scoreless for the final three minutes of the quarter.
Carl McNally marked his home debut by leading the Big Cats’ scoring with 27, with Gareth Laws (17), Carl Latham-Henry (13) and Lukas Volskis all finished in double figures. Sheffield’s American duo dominated their scoring against a Leopards team still missing Hrvoje Pervan and Robert Gilchrist, with Doug McLaughlin-Williams scoring 30 and Tyler Ousley 22.
The home side opened with a rare Russell Jordan three-pointer, and the same player kept them three points ahead with a lay-up after Ousely had replied. The teams exchanged baskets for most of the first period, with Laws and Wood both converting three-point plays before Laws drained another three and then scored a pair of free-throws to send Leopards into the first break with a five point lead.
Latham-Henry hit a three and Volskis scored a long two as Leopards extended that lead to 33-23 in the first minute of the second period, but Arrows refused to fold, and a pair of McLaughlin-Williams treys helped the visitors cut the lead to five. Seven McNally points in a 12-0 run eventually put Leopards comfortably in control, with a Volskis trey capping the run as the Big Cats opened up a 48-31 lead at the midway stage of the period.
A pair of McLaughlin-Williams free-throws broke the run, but McNally drained another three, and Leopards went into the locker room at half-time with a 14 point lead after Volskis also scored from Land of Plenty. Although Danny Williams opened the second half scoring for Sheffield, a three pointer from McNally and a score from Latham-Henry looked to have put the Leopards comfortably in charge, leading 63-46 with two minutes gone.
However, Arrows replied with an 11-0 run – most of which came at the foul line – as the Big Cats’ offence dried up. McNally broke the run with a trey, and also drained a jump shot, and with Volskis also scoring, the home side went into the final three minutes of the period 70-59 ahead.
But that was to be the last time the Big Cats scored in the period, and Sheffield went on a 9-0 run. All of the points were scored at the foul line, including one for a technical foul on Latham-Henry after he was flattened on his way to the basket without a receiving a call.
Leopards’ lead was just two points going into the final period, but they opened with an 8-0 run, including another score from foul line after Arrows’ coach Pete Kelly was given a technical foul after inadvertently putting six players on the court.
The run was ended by a Dave Siddell basket, though he failed to complete the three-point play after being fouled by Volskis. That launched a 13-2 run for the visitors, with Jordan and Lee McCarthy each scoring a single free-throws for Leopards, as Ousley scored five points to help Arrows to their first lead since the opening quarter, 81-80 with two minutes remaining.
A time-out from Burnell stopped the rot, and after NcNally had missed a pair of free-throws, he grabbed the rebound and scored from close range to make the score 82-81. McLaughlin-Williams levelled the score going into the final minute with a single free-throw before Laws restored Leopards lead with a jump shot.
As Arrows were forced to foul to stop the close, Latham-Henry scored three from foul free-throws, before Laws iced the win with another pair from the charity stripe to keep the Big Cats in third place with games in hand on their title rivals.
Leopards: C McNally 27, G Laws 17, C Latham-Henry 13, L Volskis 11, R Jordan 8, L McCarthy 7, K Wood 4, L Greenan 2, B Wilkinson
2015 – BIG CATS EDGED OUT IN NORTHUMBRIA
Steve Ogunjimi’s team again started slowly following the loss at Tees Valley and a late comeback couldn’t prevent an 86-83 at Team Northumbria. .
Will Ashby led the way with a game-high 24 points while Ladi Brown finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.Leopards trailed 28-17 at the first break and eventually went down
The visitors trailed 28-17 at the first break before the lead was trimmed to 48-38 at half-time but although a Brown three helped cut the deficit to five after a minute of the second half but the home side regained control to lead 66-53 .
Five straight Ashby points cut that lead to eight points after two fourth period minutes but Leopards’ chances appeared over as four Jack Wilson points made it a 17-point game with five minutes remaining .
But Leopards never go quietly, and Van Beest launched a 12-0 run capped by a pair of Margai free-throws to cut the deficit to five with 1:07 on the clock .
Lewis Champion ended the run with a pair of free-throws only to Margai hit a trey to make it a four point game with 30 seconds remaining.
Randolph split a pair at the foul line for the hosts before Brown drained a three to cut the lead to two with 10 seconds only to see Jamie Hayes called for a questionable offensive foul after the Big Cats’ had forced a turnover, and the home side sealed the win at the foul line .
Hayes finished with ten points in under eight minutes while Tom Martin added eight points. Champion led Northumbria with 23 points and six assists, with Preston adding 20 points for the hosts .