A 49-35 margin on the boards proved to be key for the hosts, and the Big Cats never trailed after a Shaq Lewis basket sent them into the first break with a 14-13 lead.
Mike Martin took the MVP honours from game sponsors Curves & Couture as he finished with a game-high 26 points, six assists and as many rebounds..
Darrell Bethune added 24 points and seven boards while AJ Roberts had nine rebounds and seven assists to go with his 17 points. The Big Cats also shared the ball well, finishing with 21 assists to the visitors’ 11.
Thunder had arrived on the back of a win against Hemel Storm thanks to 40 points from Division One’s leading scorer
Lyonell Gaines, but he was held to a season-low 19 points on nine-from-23 shooting.
Bethune opened the scoring with a three and Martin made it 5-0 before Gaines launched a 9-0 run to give his side their biggest lead of the game.
But five straight Martin points dragged Leopards into the game as they led by one at the first break and the Leopards’ captain converted his second and-one of the game to open the second period before Roberts made it 19-13.
A pair of Bethune treys helped Leopards open a healthy lead before Martin hit a pair at the charity stripe to make it 41-27, only to see Thunder finish strong to cut the lead to 41-33 at half-time.
A technical foul of Jack Sutherland at half-time saw Bethune convert from the free-throw line at the start of the second quarter and scores from Bethune and Tosin Oyelese put Leopards up by 14 heading into the final three minutes of the third period.
Thunder still had one more run in them as Tom Ward scored four points in a 7-0 run but scores from Bethune and Oyelese extended the hosts’ lead to 63-52 at the final break.
Bethune hit another triple to open the fourth period, and an 11-4 run midway through the quarter wrapped things up, allowing coach Steve Ogunjimi to give his younger players some court time down the stretch.