Leopards outgunned in closing stages

Levett Leopards’ hopes of a top two finish were dealt a major blow as they lost 100-83 against Thames Valley Cavaliers.
A big crowd at Brentwood saw Leopards lead 27 of the 40 minutes but eventually come up short against a Cavaliers side packed with players who have played professionally at a higher level.
The Big Cats contained the visitors rebounding in the first half, but Cavs’ height advantage proved key down the stretch in a game that saw three intentional and four technical fouls called.
Captain Dougie Bennett scored seven of his team-high 16 points in the first four minutes as Leopards took a 9-4 lead to force an early timeout from the visitors.
Seven first period points from Kavin Moyo kept the home side, and with Antonio Deogratias and Jerrell Layne hitting three pointers the Big Cats took a 31-25 lead into the first break.
Will Ashby kept the hosts ahead early in the second quarter with seven points and Deogratias made it a seven point game with three first half minutes remaining.
Former Leopard Phil Perre tied the score at 47 with 68 seconds remaining but managed to pick up a technical foul for dissent in the process and Bennett hit the foul shot to give Leopards a 48-47 half-time lead.
The third period proved to be a war attrition with Perre giving the visitors the lead with the opening score but the Big Cats only trailing briefly as Bennett and Deogratias gave them a three point lead.
The hosts ahead but without ever stretching their lead above four points, and a pair of Tabernar baskets split by a Layne trey sent them into the final break leading 66-65.
Callum opened the fourth period scoring for the Big Cats after Sam Toluwase had opened the scoring, but Andre Baptise gave the visitors the lead with five minutes remaining, and although Deogratias made it a one point game with four minutes lead, Cavaliers scored 13 of the next 15 points to wrap up the win.
Deogratias finished with an 11 point, ten rebound double-double for the Big Cats, with Layne also adding 11 points and both Ashby and Callum scoring 10.
American guard Martelle McLemore led the visitors’ scoring with 26 points on 10-25 shooting, with Robert Banks, Perre and Andre Baptiste adding 18 points apiece.