GREG Hernandez led the way with a 21 point, 15 rebound double-double as Leopards won a tight game 62-59 against Leicester Warriors.
The Big Cats survived a late comeback from the visitors before wrapping up their second Division One victory of the season.
And that delighted Hernandez.
“Making sure we won the game was all that mattered so we’re very pleased,” said the 24-year-old centre.
“It wasn’t particularly pretty and it wasn’t that emphatic but we were still able to ground it out to make sure we got more points than they did.
“I was pleased with how things went for personally too but making sure we got win meant more, especially after losing last week.” Hernandez was well assisted by Taner Adu who added 17 points and four assists, while Carl Josey chipped in with ten points and five rebounds. Despite thatm, Leopards started slowly, with only Adu getting on the scoresheet as Warriors built a 14-4 lead after six and a half minutes.
Adu doubled his tally to bring the Big Cats within six before Hernandez picked up the scoring mantle, hitting five straight points including an and-one as the Leicester lead was reduced to 14-13 at the first break.
Simon Cummings and Lawrence Brown extended the run to 13-0 to put Leopards up by three points before Emile Hopkins broke the tear.
Josey then again scored from downtown to put Leopards 49-38 in front with 1:31 remaining in the third period only to see Warriors score the final four points of the stanza to make it a seven point game going into the final break.
Adu opened the fourth period scoring before Warriors hit six straight points to cut the lead to three before the visitors went 54-53 ahead.
Leopards' two Americans sparked the run which finally wrapped up the win as Hernandez scored either side of a Cummings basket and a Youngblood block, before Adu completed the 8-0 run to put the Big Cats 61-54 ahead with 87 seconds remaining.
Elliot Sentance drained a three and Pettaway scored a pair at the line as Warriors had one last run, but Youngblood broke the run to wrap up the win.