Second period meltdown costs Leopards against Derby at Oaklands College

PUBLISHED: 17:25 27 February 2020

Toby Gastaldi-Davis in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

Toby Gastaldi-Davis in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

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Leopards’ poor season continued as a terrible second period paved the way for an 88-75 home loss against Derby Trailblazers.

Elvisi Dusha in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPSElvisi Dusha in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

Thomas Baker's side outscored the visitors by a point across the other three quarters but that will be little consolation for the Big Cats' coach as they remain joint bottom of National Basketball League Division One.

Orlan Jackman again led the home side's scoring with 26 points while the returning Prince Lartey chipped in with 13.

Leopards started well with scores from Jackman and Elvisi Dusha giving them the lead before Derby responded.

Three-point plays from Os Gaizauskas and Dusha took Leopards to first five points and then 19-13 in front, their biggest lead of the contest, but the gap was just one by the end of the first quarter.

Prince Lartey in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPSPrince Lartey in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

It all went horribly wrong over the next 10 minutes though as two separate 9-0 runs allowed Derby to take a 52-39 lead into half-time.

Gaizauskas drained a three with the opening score of the second half to make it a 10-point game, only to see Blazers reply with a 12-1 run to make it 64-43 midway through the third period.

A pair of Lartey triples and one from Dusha cut the lead to 10 again but it was at 12 come the end of the third period.

Another Dusha triple made it a nine-point gap with seven minutes remaining but Derby replied with eight unanswered points and the hosts never got the deficit down below double-digits again.

Orlan Jackman in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPSOrlan Jackman in action for Leopards against Derby Trailblazers. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

Leopards return to action on Sunday with a trip to Reading Rockets. It will be fourth meeting between the teams this season, and Rockets have collected wins against the Big Cats in a pre-season friendly, Division One action and the National Cup quarter-final.

It was a different story last season as the Leopards recorded four victories over the Rockets, winning on each occasion they met, with both league wins and a double-figures home victory in the National Trophy.

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