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Essex Leopards pipped by London Lions in final warm up match
ESSEX Leopards went agonisingly close to upsetting the form book as they went down to a narrow 85-75 home defeat to the London Lions in their final pre-season friendly.
The Big Cats pushed their British Basketball League visitors all the way until some poor foul shooting cost them dear at the death.
And that left skipper Carl Josey feeling frustrated at the end of the game.
“We probably could’ve won it and I didn’t have the best of games either, so it was doubly disappointing for me person-ally,” said Josey.
“However, it’s obviously very encouraging that we were able to run a BBL team so close and we’re all looking forward to the serious stuff getting underway.
“We’ve assembled a good squad and our aim is to go out and play like a BBL team ourselves this term.
“We want to be winning more silverware and if that doesn’t happen we’ll be taking a hard look at ourselves.
“But we can’t afford to look too far ahead and have to always just focus on our next game.”
Leopards start their competitive season this Sunday against the Bradford Dragons in the National Trophy at Southend’s Garon Park.
And they will go into that in good shape after performing well against the Lions.
Summer signing Howard Crawford led the Big Cats with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Courtney Van Beest finished with 12 points and seven boards.
But, despite their input, Leopards only led briefly during the early stages of the game.
However, with 1:51 minutes left on the clock the Big Cats were down by just four points.
Five straight misses at the free-throw line were then punished by a pair of three-pointers from the visitors as they closed out the win.
As a result, Leopards will now be looking to bounce back against the Dragons on Sunday in a clash which tips off in Southend at 4pm.
Tickets for the game are available on the door or by visiting the club’s official website at www.leopardsbasketball.co.uk.