2015 – Leopards storm to victory
Leopards opened 2015 in style with a comfortable 85-71 win at Hemel Storm, on Saturday. Albert Margai led the way with 19 points and Courtney van Beest added 18 as a depleted Big Cats team bounced back from their pre-Christmas loss at Worthing.
Robert Youngblood’s side were without starters Dave Ajumobi and Matic Zupanc as well as Andre Allette and Jordan Williams but never looked in trouble against a Storm side who seem to be slipping out of the play-off race.
Lawrence Brown scored the opening two baskets of the night on the way to an eight point haul as the Big Cats led from tip to buzzer to improve their league record to 7-1. Margai hit six straight points to put the visitors 10-3 ahead before back-to-back Van Beest kept up the pressure, and a pair of Ronnie Baker free-throws sent the Big Cats into the first break with a 24-17 lead.
Brown again opened the scoring in the second period, but Hemel stayed in touch until three-point plays from Margai, Lukas Winegarner and Van Beest made it a 13 points game, and despite a timeout from Storm coach Will Ashby wrapped up the first half scoring to send Leopards into the with a 51-36 lead.
That lead was cut to 13 as Tom Adorian opened the second half scoring, but the home side never threatened, and a trey from Byron Richards made it an 18 point game, and Richards hit another triple before Baker’s buzzer-beater extended that lead to 73-50 at the final break.
The opening five minutes of the fourth period saw the Big Cats struggle offensively, with former Leopards’ captain Carl Josey add to his three first half period with a trey as his side rattled off 11 straight points..
An Ashby score from the Land of Plenty finally ended the drought, and despite some shambolic officiating which led to a three minute stoppage scores from Baker and Margai took the margin out to 18 with two minutes left to allow coach Youngblood to run his bench .
Ashby finished with 16 points, with Winegarner adding ten, Baker eight and Richards six as Leopards improved to 22-0 against the Storm franchise that started life as West Herts Warriors.
Adorian and former Leopard Kenroy Woods led the home side with 14 points apiece, with Josey adding 11 and Simon Kearney ten.
2000 – Leopards mauled by Lions
Milton Keynes Lions 93 (21,45,63)
Windless 26, Burks 25, Robinson 20
adidas London Leopards 82 (22,40,58)
Capers 26, Brantley 18, Kimbrough 17
Dairylea Dunkers Championship @ Bletchley Leisure centre
Milton Keynes Lions collected their fourth Dariylea Dunkers Championship win in a row with a 93-82 victory over Southern Conference rivals adidas London Leopards.
Despite missing Coach Tom Hancock, who has had to return home to America for three weeks for family reasons, and guard Modie Cox (flu), the Lions had a 13-0 tear around the first break to take the lead. Former Leopard Eric Burks had 25 points against his old club but team-mate Tony Windless led the way with 26.