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Leopards look to tame Mohawks

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 February 2014

Shaun Durant shoots for the basket on his home Leopards debut against Leicester Warriors (pic: Paul Phillips)

Shaun Durant shoots for the basket on his home Leopards debut against Leicester Warriors (pic: Paul Phillips)

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Busy weekend for Big Cats

Leopards return to Southend Tennis & Leisure Centre when Tees Valley Mohawks are the visitors on Sunday (4pm).

It’s the third meeting between the clubs this season, with Kris Clark pouring in 23 points and Carl Josey 22 as Leopards opened their league season with an 89-86 win in the north east in November.

The last meeting came in the National Trophy pool stage, and the visitors to the Brentwood Centre won an overtime thriller 72-70.

The game is a repeat of last season’s Trophy final and play-off quarter-final, both of which were won the Leopards, and Mohawks have had a quiet start to the season, sitting in eighth spot with a 7-6 record.

Leopards will be hoping to have new signing Andre Lockhart in action after the British guard saw his flight from Germany cancelled.

Tickets are available on the door at Southend or see www.leopardsbasketball.co.uk for more details.

The Big Cats are also in action tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to Worthing Thunder for the second time this season looking to avenge their 80-69 defeat in October.

The Sussex club are joint 11th in the Division One table with four wins from 16 games but have recently added American forward Terrell Bell.

Leopards kept their title hopes alive with a comfortable 81-72 against Leicester Warriors in front of a big crowd at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday.

Howard Crawford led the way with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Shaun Durant marked his home debut with 14 points and 15 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action.

Courtney Van Beest came off the bench to finish with 12 points and eight boards, with Ish Fontaine also in double figures with 10 points.

The Big Cats led for all but the first 90 seconds of the game, with the lead peaking at 23 points following a Durant free-throw midway through the second period.

Delaney Powell and Josey exchanged three pointers to open the game, but seven straight Durant points gave Leopards a lead they would never lose, and a 10-0 run capped by a pair of Josey free-throws helped them go into the first break with a 30-16 lead.

Fontaine opened the second period with five straight points, and with Crawford hitting back-to-back shots and a pair of free-throws, the Big Cats steadily built their lead.

Crawford took his second quarter tally to 10 before Van Beest drained a jump shot with 16 seconds on the clock to send Leopards into the lockerroom with a 56-35 lead.

Leopards struggled to maintain the intensity after the break as Sherrad Prezzie-Blue and Craig Pringle both drained threes for Warriors in a 7-0 run before Crawford replied.

Warriors closed the gap to 10 points before a timeout from coach Robert Youngblood worked for the home side, with Fontaine hitting his second trey of the game in an 8-2 run to close out the period with a 66-50 lead.

Durant’s put-back made it an 18 point game midway through the final period, but Warriors had one more run in them as four straight points from JP Marcellus made it 79-72.

That was as close as they came and Kris Clark put aside a poor shooting night to drain a pair at the foul line to wrap up the game.

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