Leopards look to get back on track

BASKETBALL: Leopards will look to get their vcars.co.uk Division One campaign back on track when they travel to Brixton Topcats on Saturday.

The teams have already met in the National Trophy this season, with Simon Cummings (21) and Rowell Graham (19) combining for 40 points in a 77-63 victory.

The London side have found things tough going this season and are second bottom in the table with one win from ten games, having gone winless in the Trophy.

Robert Youngblood’s side will look to bounce back after going down 74-63 at unbeaten leaders Reading Rockets.

The game was one of only five out of the scheduled 52 men’s league games to take place, with Leopards making the longest trip of any of the visiting teams, but their efforts weren’t rewarded with a win, as Rockets finished strongly.

General manager, Dave Ryan, said: “We did the right thing by playing the game, despite the result. “If we’d been away to one of the north east clubs or in Yorkshire, it would have been different, but I couldn’t believe some of the games were postponed this weekend. It’s an indoor sport!”

A tight first half saw little between the teams, but it was Rockets’ Danny Carter who converted a three point play with the last score of the half to give his side the biggest lead of the game at 31-26 going into the locker room.

Greg Hernandez’s score on the break after a Rowell Graham block saw the Reading lead cut to 46-44 at the final break, but Leopards noticeably tired in the fourth period as the home side closed out the win.

Hernandez led the Leopards with 20 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Graham showed he really is back to his best, after missing much of the season with a broken wrist, finishing 15 points, four rebounds and three blocks in just 16 minutes of action. Simon Cummings added 12 points, five steals and four rebounds.

Leopards’ National Trophy semi-final at Hemel Storm has been fixed for Saturday, February 9, tip-off 7pm, at Sports Space in the Herts town.

The Big Cats have already beaten the Storm twice this season and will be looking to reach the final for the first time having lost in the semi-final three times in the past four years.

Leopards now face five straight games on the road before returning to the Brentwood Centre on Sunday, February 10, when newly promoted Team Northumbria are the visitors in a league game, tip-off 4pm.

In a further fixture alteration, the home game against Brixton Topcats, which was originally scheduled for Easter Sunday (March 31), will now take place on Good Friday at the Brentwood Centre, tip-off 5pm.

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