Leopards take on bogey team Bristol

BASKETBALL: Leopards will be on a revenge mission this weekend as they travel to Bristol on Saturday before hosting Medway Park Crusaders at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The Big Cats have only lost two of their last 15 games, but those defeats came against this weekend’s opponents. Crusaders took the Division One points with a 93-83 win in Kent in December, while Flyers won 69-62 in the National Trophy semi-final three months ago.

Crusaders will arrive at the Brentwood Centre in joint sixth place with a 9-7 record and look a good bet for a place in the play-offs in their first season in the top flight.

The Big Cats did record a 103-92 victory in Kent when the sides met in the Trophy, but were without Ousman Krubally when the sides met in December’s league game.

Tip-off at the Brentwood Centre is 4pm on Sunday, with another big crowd expected as Leopards look to continue their run of eight straight league wins.

Saturday’s trip to Bristol will see Leopards facing the Flyers for the fourth time this season, having beaten them 91-87 in the league and 64-63 in the National Cup final prior to the Trophy defeat.

Bristol go into the game on top of the table with a 13-3 record, but suffered a heavy loss against Derby Trailblazers in Sunday’s Trophy final.

Leopards continued their fine form on Sunday as a blistering third period paved the way for an 82-66 victory against Bradford Dragons as Basildon Sporting Village.

The Big Cats outscored the visitors 24-12 in the ten minutes after the half-time break, including a key 9-0 run near the end of the third period to go into the final break with a 61-42 lead.

Division One’s top scorer Vernon Teel again led the way with 24 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and four steals. Ousman Krubally had his third straight double-double, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the fourth period and adding 12 rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

With John Lister, Joe Lockwood and Lukas Volskis all still out injured, David Buchberger continued his good form as he hit five three-pointers on the way to a 19 point, seven rebound and five assists night.

Teel opened the scoring with a three-pointer, and Leopards started well with a 9-0 run as they went into the first break with a 24-12 lead.

The visitors cut that lead to 33-28 at the half-time break, but although Chris McGrew opened the second half scoring, the three point deficit was as close as they came.

Back-to-back dunks from Krubally – both off Teel assists – saw the lead peak at 28 with just under five minutes of the game left before Leopards took their foot off the gas and allowed Dragons to make the scoreline respectable.

This weekend’s double-header is the start of a hectic month for Leopards where they will play ten games in 30 days, and they are also at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday, March 11 and 18.

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