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Double delight for Leopards
11:17am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Sport
BASKETBALL: Leopards picked up where they left off last season with a pair of home wins over the weekend.
The triple-winning Big Cats were unbeaten against EBL opposition at both Brentwood Centre and Basildon Sporting Village last season, and they continued that form with a 77-63 victory against Brixton on Friday before winning 80-63 against Medway Park Crusaders on Sunday.
"I thought we didn't play very well against Brixton, but a win's a win. We missed 21 free-throws and our three point shooting was woeful, but we still came out with a 15 point win.
"Rowell Graham was the bright spot for us. He's 18-years-old but he gave us hussle and enery which is what we needed.
"We were much better against Medway, we wanted to get off to a good start and take better care of the ball. We still need to improve our free-throw shooting, we were up to 64 percent but we're going to need to do better than that in tight games.
"We definitely have to improve our three point shooting, but there were some real positives, Carl [Josey] played very well and I'm happy to have him aboard – he'll make a real difference. Lawrence Brown had a much better game than on Friday, he's the biggest guy on the court and he needs to take advantage of that."
The pair of wins were recorded even without American forward Greg Hernandez who sat out with an infected foot.
Simon Cummings led the scoring for the Big Cats at Brentwood on Friday evening, finishing with 21 points, adding six assists and four rebounds, while Rowell Graham had another excellent game as he finished perfect from the floor by hitting all seven field goal attempts on the way to 19 points and eight rebounds.
Having only been given clearance to play four hours before tip-off, new signing Josey had a ten point, 12 rebound double-double, adding four assists and three steals as Leopards overcame a slow start to pick up the victory.
After a quiet game on Friday, Brown was dominant in the paint at Basildon Sporting Village on Sunday as he scored nine of his 11 field goal attempts to finish with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Cummings added 14 points.
Josey had his second double-double in as many games with 13 points and 14 boards, with Taner Adu also scoring 13 points as a good defensive effort saw the visitors limited to nine points in each of the second and third periods.
Leopards return to Basildon Sporting Village on Sunday as they start their defence of the National Cup with a home tie against Division Two side Eastside Eagles.
The east London side defeated Brentwood Fire 61-46 on the road to set up Sunday's last 32 game at Basildon. Eagles also made a winning start to their Patron's Cup campaign as a strong fourth period gave them a 79-69 victory against London United before going down to a narrow loss in Birmingham on Saturday. There will be one familiar face in the Eagles line-up as Ronnie Baker - who has played for both versions of the Big Cats - top scored with 22 points in their opening day win.