Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting BWNNEWS to 80360 or email us »
Leopards to start trophy defence
12:46pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Sport
BASKETBALL: Leopards begin their defence of the National Trophy on Sunday afternoon when Bradford Dragons are the visitors to Southend Tennis & Leisure Centre.
The Big Cats won the competition last season with a 99-91 overtime win against Tees Valley Mohawks last season, and coach Robert Youngblood knows the importance of a good start on Sunday.
He said: “We need to take care of business against Dragons, it’s important that we make a good start to the season.”
The National Trophy is the EBL Division One league cup, with the 14 teams divided into two groups of seven teams, playing each other once.
The top four in the group progress to the quarter-finals, with the incentive of a top two finis being home court advantage in the last eight.
Dragons started their season with a 70-60 loss at Medway Park Crusaders last Saturday but bounced back the following day to hammer Childwall Basketball 110-35 in the National Cup.
The Yorkshire side missed out on the play-offs last season, fading in the second half of the campaign after a start to the campaign which saw them top their Trophy group, and the two games between the sides saw the away side run out winners on each occasion.
Leopards wrapped up their pre-season games with a narrow 85-75 loss against London Lions.
American forward Howard Crawford led the Big Cats with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Courtney Van Beest finished with 12 points and seven boards and another one of the seven ex-Lions in the Leopards team, Kris Clark chipped in with 11 points and four assists on his debut.
Leopards only led briefly during the early stages of the game, but with 1:51 on the clock they were down by just four against the BBL side.
However, five straight misses at the free-throw line were punished by a pair of three-pointers from the visitors as they closed out the win, but it was still an excellent final work-out for the Big Cats ahead of Sunday’s competitive opener.
Leopards were also in action last Thursday as they hammered Canary Wharf London Lituanica 76-47.
Sunday’s game at the Garons Park venue tips off at 4pm with tickets available on the door or at leopardsbasketball.co.uk, and the following weekend sees Leopards host Manchester Magic at Brentwood on Saturday, October 5 (7pm) before Barking Abbey visit Southend the following day in the National Cup, tip-off 5.30pm.
Comments are closed on this article.