Short-handed Leopards battered by Storm

Leopards’ fell to a fifth straight defeat as a good start wasn’t enough to prevent at 116-84 home loss against Hemel Storm on Sunday.
The Big Cats’ injury problems continue to mount and gave them a mountain to climb against big spending Storm.
With Jerrel Layne likely to miss the rest of the season due to an ankle injury, Obi Egbunike nursing an knee problem and James Cummings ill, the Big Cats lost point guard Prince Lartey with an ankle injury in the narrow loss at Westminster last week.
Coach Thomas Baker moved quickly to re-sign Kevin Moyo as a replacement for Lartey but he lasted only eight minutes against Hemel Storm on Sunday before also damaging his injury.
In front of a big Brentwood crowd, Leopards were up 33-21 at that stage, but that proved to be as good as it got for them as Storm took control after Moyo’s departure and ran out comfortable winners.
Although Storm’s American guard Mike Williams scored the first two of his 24 points to open the scoring, the Big Cats started well with a pair of treys from captain Chuck Duru. Back-to-back baskets from Jerrelle Okoro helped them into an early 10-8 leead, and both Moyo and Hafeez Abdul scored from long range to help them into a 29-21 lead.
But the loss of Moyo made an immediate impact as Storm scored seven straight points before Okoro sent Leopards into the first break with a 35-28 lead.
Duru opened the second period scoring but a 9-2 run, including five points from former Leopard Sam Newman, saw Storm take their first lead of the game at 41-40 with five minutes gone.
A trey from Marius Kartfaniukas put Leopards back in the lead, and Abdul also scored from downtown to keep the hosts ahead.
That proved to be as good as it got for the Big Cats as Storm took control with a 12-0 run – including seven Williams points – before Abdul cut the deficit to 59-51 going into the locker room.
Okoro hit the first basket of the second half, but there was no way back for the hosts as Storm outscored them 33-17 to lead 92-68 and they wrapped up their fourth win in five games with a 24-16 fourth period.
Abdul again led the Big Cats with 37 points, while Okoro finished with a 26 point, 10 rebound double-double and Duru added ten points and six boards.
Bode Adeluola, who had a brief spell with Leopards, led Storm with 29 points and seven assists, with former Big Cats Will Ashby (14), Lee Hodges (13) and Newman (13) all came back to haunt their former club with Hodges also pulling down 13 boards.