Snow problem for Leopards

Levett Essex Leopards’ efforts to get a game played on Sunday were rewarded with an 83-65 victory against London Westside.
Scheduled opponents Derbyshire Arrows told the Big Cats on Friday afternoon that they wouldn’t be travelling due to the snow – which had gone by Sunday – but Leopards moved quickly to replace the game with a match-up against struggling Westside.
The game was technically Westside’s home game after February’s attempt to play it was postponed due to a leaking roof making the court dangerous.
A bumper crowd at the Brentwood Centre saw a dominant second half performance give the Big Cats an ultimately comfortable victory.
Will Ashby led the way for the “visitors” with four three-pointers in his 24 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Shaq Lewis celebrated a rare start with 12 points and 14 boards in just 16 minutes while captain Dougie Bennett also finished with 12 points.
After the previous week’s loss at Ipswich, coach Thomas Baker made several changes to his starting line-up, with young guard Jose Morais and recent signing Antonio Deogratas making their first starts for the Leopards.
Baker was able to spread the court time around, with all 12 players playing at least 11 minutes and all of them except big man Caleb Tabernar getting on the scoresheet.
Ashby opened the scoring with a trey, before seven straight Lewis points and a Jerrell Layne triple saw the Big Cats take a 17-3 lead.
But the offence dried up in the final five minutes of the period, and they had only a Kevin Moyo free-throw to show for their efforts during that time as they went into the first break 18-9 ahead.
The malaise continued in the second period and despite two three-point played from Bennett their lead was trimmed to 35-27 as they heading into the locker room 35-27 ahead.
Coach Thomas Baker’s half-time team talk clearly worked, and Ashby hit his side’s first nine points of the third period to give the Big Cats a 45-29 lead after three minutes.
A triple from Jamie Hayes helped him score six straight points, and the Bug Cats outscored Westside 30-16 in the quarter to take a comfortable 65-43 lead into the final break.
Ashby hut another trey and the advantage peaked at 31 following four straight Jamie Rodwell points to put his side 74-43 ahead.
A fourth trey from Ashby together with a pair of Deogratas baskets kept the hosts in charge as the Big Cats wrapped up their 11th league win of the campaign.