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Leopards coach Baker disappointed with slow start against Riders

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 October 2019

Jerelle Okoro top scored for Essex Leopards against Loughborough Riders (Pic: Leopards)

Jerelle Okoro top scored for Essex Leopards against Loughborough Riders (Pic: Leopards)

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Essex Leopards' coach Thomas Baker was disappointed with another slow start as his side went down 94-66 at Loughborough Riders on Saturday.

After sharing the first eight points, Leopards allowed the home side to score ten unanswered, and they never looked back.

"It was another tough outing which began from a slow start from us," admitted Baker.

"In order for us to compete at this level we need to make sure we are ready from the get go, remove the shackles and just play our style.

"One positive is in the second half we did more of this and we must start to build of this for longer periods of the game.

"We are getting better but we must stay disciplined to what makes us successful and commit to it more frequently.

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"I am convinced we will get where we need to be, it will just take time."

The Big Cats tailed 24-14 at the first break, and the game was virtually over at half-time as Loughborough took a 50-31 lead into the locker room.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended as Riders finished the third period strongly to lead 75-49 and they wrapped things up with a 19-17 final quarter.

Jerelle Okoro led the Big Cats with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes, while Hafeez Abduul added 16 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Captain Chuck Duru finished with 12 points and three boards, while Prince Lartey added nine points.

Leopards travel to Bradford on Saturday where they will face a Dragons side who have also lost their opening two games.

The teams split their games last season, both winning at home.

Leopards return to the Brentwood Centre on Sunday, October, 7 when they face Hemel Storm.

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