Coach Baker wants less mistakes from his Essex Leopards side

PUBLISHED: 17:02 05 February 2019

Essex Leopards Sam Newman in action against Magic (Pic: Paul Phillips)

Essex Leopards Sam Newman in action against Magic (Pic: Paul Phillips)


After seeing his side split their two games last weekend, Leopards’ coach Thomas Baker is looking for his side to cut down on their mistakes as they face another pair of games this week.

Essex Leopards Lee Hodges in action against Magic (Pic: Paul Phillips)Essex Leopards Lee Hodges in action against Magic (Pic: Paul Phillips)

The Big Cats went down 102-93 at Derby Trailblazers on Saturday before beating Manchester Magic 83-75 at Brentwood on Sunday, and they face a quick return game with Magic on Saturday before hosting Reading Rockets at Essex Sports Arena on Sunday (2pm).

“I think we were a little rusty in the Derby game. Turnovers really hurt us and they had guys who punished our errors that we had in the game,” Baker said.

“We showed we can score at will and this has been a strong characteristic of our season.

“We need to make sure we remain focussed on the defensive end. “Sunday’s game tested us in different ways.

“Losing Lee [Hodges] early on in the game made it tough for us to get a hold in the game.

“Testament to the guys, we found a way to get through and kept our playoff push going which is the most important thing.

“We will work this week on the things we need to improve and be ready for another double header.

Captain Sam Newman was pleased with how the Big Cats bounced back after the loss at Derby

“Although not the two wins we were hoping for we showed toughness and the ability to pull together during adversity against Manchester and get the job done.

“We need to keep working and get prepared for another two tough games.”

Leopards trailed for most of the game at Derby, but stayed in touch until the final stages when the hosts wrapped up the win.

Newman and Hodges each finished with double-doubles, the former scoring 19 points and taking 10 rebounds while Hodges had 16 points and 12 boards.

Rory Winter had 15 poins off the bench and Asante Sandiford marked his birthday with 14 points.

The following day saw the Leopards make hard work of collecting their seventh league win but a strong third period proved to be enough to beat basement side Magic.

The Big Cats certainly face a tough weekend as they are likely to get back to Colchester just 12 hours before they return to action against the Rockets.

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