Leopards win at last

Leopards collected their first win of the season as London Greenhouse Pioneers were beaten 108-74 in the National Cup on Sunday.

Hafeez Abdul led the way with 43 points in a game played at Harlow Leisurezone as the Big Cats led for almost the whole game.

Abdul poured in 23 points, including four treys, in the third period alone as the Big Cats set up a last 16 trip to either Sussex Bears or Bristol Hurricanes.

New signing Teni Mongo added 16 points with Jerrelle Okoro chipping in with 12.

Captain Chuck Duru opened the scoring with a trey , and both Mongo and Abdul scored from downtown as Leopards took control with a 12-0 run before Marius Kaftaiukas sent them into the first break with a 29-23 lead.

Abdul opened the second period scoring and with Mongo draining a pair of threes Leopards steadily increased the lead before three James Cummings points sent the into the lockerr room with a 54-39 lead.

The game was put beyond the visitors’ reach as Abdul hit nine straight points in an 11-0 run to open the second half, and after Okoro had converted a free-throw he hit another 13 straight for the hosts as they reached the final break with an 85-56 lead.

An 8-0 run saw Pioneers make it a 23-point game, but that was as close as they came with all 11 Leopards getting on the scoresheet as they broke a six-game losing streak.

The previous night had seen Leopards poor start to the league season continue as they went down 102-84 against high-flying Worthing Thunder at Oaklands College.

In front of a good crowd Okoro continued his excellent season with a 30 point, 13 rebound double-double, adding six assists. Duru added 14 points and five boards, and Kevin Moyo finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.

With point guard Prince Lartey still out of action with an ankle injury, coach Thomas Baker drafted in Teni Mongo and the former Westminster Warrior with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Moyo scored five points as the teams shared the first 18 points but despite triples from Abdul and Mongo, the visitors took control and went into the first break with a 22-17 lead.

A good start to second period saw a Mongo three make it a one-point game but Amarjit Basi – who led all scorers with 29 points – launched a 12-0 to put Worthing in control, and they never looked back.

Ray Akpofure cut Worthing’s lead to 49-36 at half-time triples from Abdul, Duru and  Kaftaiukas saw that lead trimmed to 74-62 at the final break before Thunder won the fourth period 28-22 to wrap up the victory.

Leopards are back on the road on Saturday as they make the relatively short trip to Thames Valley Cavaliers.

The Uxbridge-based side are joint fourth in the table with a 4-2 record but suffered a shock Cup exit at hands of Divison Two side Essex Rebels.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]