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Perfect 10 as Leopards put bite on rivals
LEOPARDS set a new club record of 10 straight league wins by beating both Bristol Academy Flyers and Medway Park Crusaders at the weekend.
Leopards thrashed high-flying Bristol 89-72 on their court before beating the Crusaders 78-61 at the Brentwood Centre.
The twin triumph helped the team work their way in to the record books.
“We’re very pleased to have won both games and got the record at the same time,” said coach Dejan Mihevc.
“We expected a really tough test against Bristol, but we were well prepared and had a lot of energy.
“It was a great team effort to get a good result and to then follow that up by beating Medway Park Crusaders as well.
“That put our first double header behind us and I am very proud of my team because they showed real character and played two days in a row at a really high level.”
Vernon Teel continued his fine form by recording his fifth and sixth triple-double of the season.
And such a feat had only happened once in the previous eight years since Leopards were reformed.
Teel finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists on Saturday while the following day he had 21 points, 12 boards and as many assists.
Ousman Krubally also had a fine weekend, as he led the team with 31 points and 15 rebounds on Saturday before finishing with 20 points and 19 boards the following afternoon.
Krubally scored the first nine Leopards points at Bristol — including a rare three-pointer — as the Big Cats started strongly.
And he also sent his side into the first break with a 23-19 lead with a single free-throw.
Flyers led for most of the opening minutes in the second quarter but Krubally gave Leopards a lead they would never lose with 5:25 on the clock, and they went into the locker room at half-time with a 46-39 lead.
That margin reached 16 with two third-period minutes remaining when Teel hit a pair of free-throws and the Big Cats were 63-53 up at the final break.
David Buchberger hit nine of his 20 points in the final period as Leopards’ lead only briefly dipped into single figures.
The following day saw Mihevc’s side start slowly as Crusaders reeled off nine straight points after Teel’s opening score. But Leopards fought back to trail just 18-16 at the first break.
Bradley Wilkinson marked his first start of the season with 7:21 left in the second period as he drained a three-pointer to give Leopards a lead they would never lose, and they went into the half-time break 36-32 up.
A 10-2 run midway through the third period saw Leopards take control and Krubally’s dunk off Teel’s assist saw Leopards lead 56-44 at the final break.
Krubally capped an 8-0 run to start the fourth period to take the lead out to 20, and Mihevc was able use his younger players. Leopards now sit fourth in English Basketball League Division One table and have games in hand on all three teams above them.