Leopards aim to keep roaring ‘until the end’
PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 March 2016
Big Cats must kick on after securing play-off spot last time out
Having already booked their spot in the play-offs, Essex Leopards will hope complacency is not an issue when they play two Division One strugglers this weekend.
Big Cats begin their busy schedule tomorrow (Saturday) with a trip to Westminster Warriors, before hosting Tees Valley Mohawks the following day.
With both opponents fighting to beat the drop, Leopards must be wary of teams who are desperate for wins to boost their chances of survival.
First up for Essex are Warriors, who made a good start to the campaign before slowly slipping down the standings towards the dreaded drop.
The sides have already met twice this season, with both boasting a win apiece, but Big Cats will be keen to take the decider on the road this weekend.
Sunday sees Leopards entertain Mohawks in what is likely to be the hosts final league game at the Brentwood Centre this season.
Essex will be confident of marking that milestone in style against the division’s second-bottom side at the time of writing.
They will also be on the lookout for revenge, with Steve Ogunjimi’s men suffering perhaps their low point of the season with a defeat at Tees Valley in December.
Big Cats made sure of their place in the end-of-season games last weekend with a 74-63 win over Team Northumbria, which took place at the Brentwood Centre.
A good all-round scoring and defensive effort on Sunday saw Leopards avenge a controversial loss at Northumbria in December.
Eleven Essex players were on the scoresheet, led by Albert Margai’s haul of 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Courtney Van Beest added 11 points and six rebounds, while Tosin Oyelese had a 10- point, 12-rebound double-double.
The hosts ended the first period with a 15-10 lead, before extending it to 34-26 by the time the teams went into the dressing room for half time.
Leopards continued to dominate in the third period, holding a 55-43 lead by the end before seeing the victory out.
That triumph ensured the team will have a chance to go for the final piece of silverware this season in the play-offs.
And two more wins this weekend would be the perfect way for the Big Cats to build momentum ahead of what is likely to be an important run of games.
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