Leopards’ players can’t wait to face Leeds Carnegie in the Final Fours at Manchester, on Saturday.
Lawrence Brown picked up a winners’ medal in the National Trophy last season, and the seven foot centre is looking to repeat the trick at the Amaechi Centre this weekend: “I am really excited to be returning to the final four again, and plan to return with some silverware this time around” he said.
“Leeds have given us two very close games this season and it will be a good matchup. They are a very tough defensive team and everyone works hard for 40 minutes.”
With coach Robert Youngblood suspended from Saturday’s semi-final, Brown knows the Big Cats face a difficult challenge: “I will be tough without our head coach, but we have a lot of experienced players who have really come together recently.
“Robert has been preparing us for Leeds the last two weeks and know we have to keep them off the boards and stop their fast break. As long as we stick together we can beat any team and we plan to show that this weekend.”
Guard Kris Clark agrees with Brown: “I’m truly excited about the chance to get a playoff championship trophy since our efforts came up short in all other trophies” he said.
“It’s unfortunate coach will not be able to coach us Saturday. But that’s the great thing about our team, we have coaches on the floor and a good assistant who will lead us in the right direction. With this being out third time going up against Leeds, we know what to expect and what we need to get done.”
Big man Howard Crawford led Division One in scoring and finished second in rebounding on the way to the Leopards MVP award, and he’s determined to end the season with some silverware: “I’m very excited about playing in the final fours, it’s a big opportunity for the team to cap off the season on a high note and also see Fred [Dicker – chairman]off in a fashionable manner….
“Since it’s one and done, it will be good to see how we as players can cope with the coaching staff to get things done on the fly and in tough situations
“We know Leeds is a tough physical team that thrives on rebounding and playing hard but is a very beatable team, if we come out and execute our game plan and limit their runs we should come out with a win.”