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Basketball: Leopards look to end year on winning note

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 December 2019

Hafeez Abdul on the ball for Leopards against Reading (pic Paul Phillips)

Hafeez Abdul on the ball for Leopards against Reading (pic Paul Phillips)

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Leopards will look to end 2019 with a win when they travel to Leicester Warriors on Saturday.

Jerrelle Okoro finds the net for Leopards against Reading (pic Paul Phillips)Jerrelle Okoro finds the net for Leopards against Reading (pic Paul Phillips)

The Big Cats went out of the National Cup with a 98-92 loss to high-flying Reading Rockets on Sunday and desperately need a league win as they travel to the Midlands.

And they will face a Warriors side who have surprised many people by sitting in joint seventh place in Division One with five wins from 12 games.

The game will see a battle between the top flight's top scorers, with Leopards' Hafeez Abdul leading the way with an average of 28 points per game, while Leicester's TJ Henderson sits second in the table with an average of 26.2.

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Last season saw Leopards complete a double against Warriors, winning 95-84 at home and 93-91 at Braunstone Leisure Centre as they finished one spot ahead of them in seventh place.

A disastrous third period saw the Big Cats' dream of National Cup glory end at Oaklands on Sunday.

Thomas Baker's team had controlled the early stages of the game, going into the first break with a 21-18 lead.

And although they trailed 44-39 at half-time, it was a 39-21 third period that ended their chances of lifting the oldest piece of silverware in English basketball for a fourth time.

Abdul and Jerrelle Okoro both scored 20 points, adding five and six rebounds respectively, with Okoro dishing out six assists.

Oaklands junior Toby Gastaldi-Divies hit three treys to finish with nine points, with captain Chuck Duru and Prince Laryey also adding nine points apiece.

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