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Leopards end year on a high

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 December 2015

Ladi Brown attacks for Leopards against Westminster (pic: Paul Phillips)

Ladi Brown attacks for Leopards against Westminster (pic: Paul Phillips)

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Big Cats beat Westminster in last outing of 2015

Connor Stuart attacks for Leopards against Westminster (pic: Paul Phillips)Connor Stuart attacks for Leopards against Westminster (pic: Paul Phillips)

A strong second-half performance saw the Levett Essex Leopards wrap up a successful 2015 with a 71-55 victory against Westminster Warriors on Sunday.

The Brentwood Centre crowd saw the visitors limited to just 25 second-half points as the Big Cats recorded their sixth league victory of the campaign.

Ladi Brown was on fire from long range, draining six triples on the way to a 22-point haul, adding five rebounds, two steals and two assists.

Courtney Van Beest added 10 points and six boards, with Will Ashby and Tom Martin each finishing with nine points in a balanced Leopards’ offence, while Tosin Oyelese pulling down ten rebounds.

Jon Johnson led Warriors with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double with former Great Britain international Julius Joseph finishing with 12 points.

Ashby hit a trey to open the scoring before Brown took over with three straight treys to help Leopards into a 12-6 lead.

Oyelese hit four points as the Big Cats held their lead, before Brian Nguru split a pair of free-throws to send the home side into the first break with a 21-15 cushion.

Scores from Van Beest and Dougie Bennett extended the lead to 25-17, but the home side’s offence then struggled as only Jamie Hayes troubled the scorers in the next five minutes

After former Leopard Mantis Adomaitis has tied the score at 27-27, Hayes hit a trey to put Leopards back in front only to see Joseph to score from outside the arc, but it was the Big Cats who went into the locker-room with a 33-30 lead as Ashby drained a three.

Adomaitis and Brown exchanged three-pointers to open the second half and Warriors briefly led 40-39 midway through the third quarter.

But an 11-2 run capped by a Nguru triple put Leopards back in charge and a Connor Stuart basket sent them into the final break with a 51-45 lead.

Martin and Brown both hit threes to extend that lead at the start of the fourth period and seven straight points from Brown effectively wrapped up the win before Martin completed the scoring with Leopards’ 11th trey of the game.

The Big Cats now have their longest-ever Christmas break before returning to action with a home double-header, hosting Plymouth Raiders at the Brentwood Centre on Friday January 15 (8pm) and Lancashire Spinners the following day at Harlow Leisurezone (7.30pm).

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