Sheffield Sharks 65 Greater London Leopards 67
BBL Championship @ Wembley Arena
2015 – Warriors defeated at Harlow
Leopards maintained their perfect record at Harlow Leisure Zone with a 79-68 victory against Leicester Warriors, on Saturday evening. With title rivals Derby Trailblazers losing at home against Worthing Thunder, it was perfect night for Robert Youngblood’s team who now face Warriors again at Brentwood in the National Trophy today.
Leopards’ top scorer Dave Ajumobi returned from illness to again lead their scoring with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. Will Ashby finished with 13 points, including two key three pointers down the stretch, while Lukas Winegarner added 12 points and Albert Margai 11. American Derek Knutty led the visitors with a 20 point, 13 rebound double-double, with Carl Pearson the only other Warrior in double figures with 14.
Leon Henry opened the scoring for the visitors before Lawrence Brown and Ajumobi put the Big Cats ahead. Treys from Byron Richards and Ashby kept the Big Cats ahead 15-11 with three minutes left but a Jason Tucker three sparked a 7-0 Warriors run to give them their biggest lead of the night at 18-15 before Winegarner hit a jump shot to make it a one point game at the first break .
New signing Ladi Brown opened the second period scoring with a trey off Ronnie Baker’s assist to restored Leopards’ lead before Margai hit a pair at the foul line to make it a three point game.
A Margai triple extended the lead to eight with 5:20 on the clock, but the visitors stayed in touch with a Keiron Mills trey and although Margai gave his side a 43-34 lead with 90 seconds remaining, Warriors hit the final four points of the half to make it 43-38 going into the locker room.
Knutty opened the second half scoring, and Leome Francis quickly made it a one point game but Richards answered with a score from the Land of Plenty An Ajumobi tip-in made it an eight point game and the Big Cats’ other debutant Mark Denchfield hit a trip to cap a 17-3 run and put Leopards 63-45 ahead with 2;10 remaining in the period. But the stubborn visitors wouldn’t let the game get away from them and Pearson hit five straight points as Warriors scored the final seven of the quarter to cut Leopards’ lead to 63-52 at the final break.
Winegarner made it a 13-point game to open the fourth period but a 6-0 run from the visitors dragged them back into it, and although Ajumobi hit a timely trey, scores from Pearson and Knutty cut the lead to six with 3:20 on the clock. But Ashby drained from downtown, and although Toms Leiteras replied with a long two, Ashby hit another triple to put Leopards 76-66 ahead with 1:54 on the clock. Warriors never got closer than eight points again, and Courtney Van Beest’s triple wrapped up the win before Baker completed the victory at the foul line.
2009 – Leopards miss Rockets chance
Leopards 82 (23,45,66) Reading Rockets 85 (13,39,64)
Leopards again missed out on a golden chance to become the first side to defeat Reading Rockets as they slipped to a National Trophy defeat at Wodson Park on Saturday.
The Big Cats were ahead with just 20 seconds of the game remaining, but in an almost identical situation to their National Cup loss against the Rockets, they turned the ball over twice and allowed the visitors to escape with a three point victory.
Such a finish had looked unlikely as Burnell’s side rushed into a 20-2 lead in the first four and half minutes. Russell Jordan opened the scoring with an and-one, and although Simon Kearney responded with a two, a pair of Lee McCarthy baskets split by a Jordan lay-up put Leopards 9-2 ahead.
Hrvoje Pervan marked his comeback following a broken hand with a trey to extend the lead, and with McCarthy scoring back-to-back baskets and both Carl Latham-Henry and Pervan converting from the foul line the Big Cats took what appeared to be an unassailable lead.
However, as often happens in games between evenly matched teams, Rockets replied with a 9-0 run before Latham-Henry scored a pair of foul shots to end the tear.With 0.61 seconds remaining, Rockets cut the Leopards’ lead to 23-13 when Jason Sayers somehow found time to catch the ball, turn and shoot.
Despite Pervan scoring well on his way to a game-high 27 points, Rockets continued to shave points off the home side’s lead in the second period, and it took a three-point Lukas Volskis to keep the Big Cats head went into the locker room with 45-39 advantage following back-to-back Pervan three-pointers.
Latham-Henry opened the second half with a basket, but it took eight points from Pervan to keep Leopards ahead in the third period. Some uncharacteristically poor foul shooting from Gareth Laws meant that Rockets stayed in touch, and the final break saw the Big Cats’ lead cut to 66-64, with Laws scoring their final basket of the quarter.
Latham-Henry again scored the first basket of the period, and a pair of Laws jump shots put Leopards ahead by four after three minutes of action in the fourth quarter. However, a single free-throw from Rockets’ American guard Terrell Smith gave them their first lead of the game, 77-76 with three minutes remaining.
Latham-Henry and Pervan both sunk a pair of free-throws put Leopards 80-77 going into the final two minutes before Smith levelled the score with an and-one.
Lee McCarthy scored from close range to restore Leopards’ lead, and with the ball in Latham-Henry’s hands going into the final 20 seconds they looked likely to take the win.
However, Smith managed to steal the ball and sink a three to put Rockets into a lead they would never need. After Leopards missed an attempt to regain the advantage, Latham-Henry was called for an intentional foul on Walid Mumuni with 0.31 seconds remaining. Mumuni missed both foul shots, but with coach Burnell and Pervan both given technical fouls, Rich Wellings wrapped things up from the chairity stripe.
Laws finished with 16 points, while McCarthy added 12 and both Jordan and Latham-Henry chipped in with 11 points. For Rockets, those four free-throws meant that Wellings led their scoring with 23 points, while Smith added 22 and Sayers finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Leopards: H Pervan 27, G Laws 16, L McCarthy 12, R Jordan 11, C Latham-Henry 11, L Volskis 3, K Wood 2, L Greenan, R Gilchrist.