Leopards keep play-off push on course
PUBLISHED: 15:56 18 March 2013 | UPDATED: 15:56 18 March 2013
Big Cats hold off Warriors
Leopards continued their push for the runners-up spot in EBL Division One with an 81-71 win over Westminster Warriors.
It was an eighth win in ten games for Robert Youngblood’s men and keeps their hopes of home-court advantage in the play-offs alive.
After several recent comeback victories, Leopards nearly had the tables turned on them at Westminster on Sunday as they let a big lead slip before eventually winning their fourth straight game.
The Big Cats led by 15 midway through the third period but saw their lead cut to one with three minutes remaining before wrapping the game up with a 9-0 run.
Josey led the visitors with 23 points, with Simon Cummings adding 21 and Greg Hernandez 15.
Leopards started the game slowly, with only Hernandez troubling the scorer as the home side took a 7-2 lead, but five straight points from Josey tied the game at 14.
Warriors’ Jon Johnson was on fire in the first period, hitting five three-pointers, and although Ish Fontaine gave the visitors their first lead at 18-17 with a three four minutes from the end of the period, Westminster finished strongly with a 9-5 run to lead 26-23 at the first break.
Duane Camile opened the second period scoring with a long jump shot, and Leopards took control of the game as massive three-pointer from Cummings before he stole the ball and fed it to Josey to repeat the trick put them up by six with four minutes of the half remaining.
Fontaine made it a ten point game with an and-one going into the final minute of the half and Cummings’ floater sent the Big Cats into the locker room with a 49-39 lead.
Rowell Graham dunked to open the second half, and a Fontaine drive put Leopards 56-41 ahead with 7:07 on the clock to force a timeout from the hosts.
Josey hit another trey to keep Leopards ahead, and Tom Martin’s long two ensured they went into the final break with a 66-55 lead.
That advantage all but evaporated as Warriors scored the first nine points of the fourth period before Hernandez ended the drought.
Youngblood looked to have steadied the ship as he put Leopards up by seven going into the final five minutes, but another Westminster time-out saw them answer with a 6-0 run to make it a one point game.
A Cummings floater made it a three point game with 2:37 on the clock before he then beat the shot clock to make it a five point game.
It was Josey, though, who scored the dagger three in the final minute, again beating the buzzer, before Hernandez wrapped up the win from a Martin assist.
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