Leopards make it three on the bounce

A dominant performance against Reading Rockets saw Leopards make it three straight victories as they won 85-69 at Essex Sports Arena, on Sunday.
The Big Cats now need to beat an already-eliminated Hemel Storm side in their final group game of the National Trophy to progress to a home semi-final against Loughborough Riders.
Captain Sam Newman hit six three pointers as he led his side with 24 points, while Asante Sandiford came off the bench to finish with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes of action. Findlay Wood scored seven points in the first five minutes to get Leopards off to a good start, and ended up with 15 points and four rebounds, while Lee Hodges added 11 points and seven rebounds. Luke Mascall-Wright completed a good weekend with ten points, five rebounds and as many assists as Leopards again shared the ball well to finish with 21 assists. They also comfortably out-rebounded their opponents again, 43-33.
AJ Carr (18) and captain Danny Carter (16) were the only two Rockets in double figures as Leopards led from tip-to-buzzer.
Hodges hit the game’s first three points, and with Wood and Newman both draining from the Land of Plenty the Big Cats rushed into an 18-5 lead before going into the first break 20-8 ahead.
Although Sandiford hit a trey to open the second quarter, Rockets controlled the tempo of the most of the period before a Mascall-Wright triple and a Sandiford jumper sent Leopards into the locker room with a 36-29 lead.
A 9-0 run early in the third period put the hosts up by 13, and Newman hit four triples in the quarter as Leopards outscored Rockets 28-18 to take a commanding 64-47 lead into the final break.
Back-to-back treys from Wood saw that advantage balloon to 24 early in the fourth period, and the Big Cats were never in trouble as they closed out the win.