First win can be used to help Leopards in future contests says coach Baker

PUBLISHED: 14:18 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 04 December 2019

Hafeez Abdul in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

Hafeez Abdul in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

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Leopards head coach Thomas Baker wants Essex & Herts Leopards' first win of the National Basketball League season to be the catalyst for better days ahead.

James Cummings in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPSJames Cummings in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

The victory was worth waiting for too with a stunning first quarter by the Oaklands College-based side destroying Liverpool and paving the way to a 97-77 success.

They raced to a 38-11 lead in those opening 10 minutes, extending it to a 31-point advantage by the end of the half.

Liverpool fought back after the break though and while a shock was never really on the cards, that is the one things Baker wants to cure next time out.

"I'm content that we got the job done," he said. "Liverpool lost a few players in the week so it looked a favourable game for us but to get the monkey off our back in terms of the win is obviously massive.

Marius Kaftaniukas in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPSMarius Kaftaniukas in action for Leopards against Liverpool in the National Basketball League Division Once clash at Oaklands Sportszone. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

"But the second half performance definitely needs to get better.

"It's been a thing for us. In trying to build the momentum up to get that first win our third quarter has been a situation where we've struggled.

"We've done alright in the last few weeks but this wasn't one of them.

"We didn't come out with the energy or intensity that was needed. That first quarter was excellent and everything we wanted but we needed to regroup at half-time and go again.

"That will be something that we will be addressing with the guys."

But while the second-half showing was disappointing, certainly when compared to the first, Baker was happy to use it as a positive.

He said: "We knew that as much as the game wasn't done, we had a comfortable enough lead and we should see it through.

"And even though Liverpool came at us, it never really got below 20 points.

"It's tough to stay mentally focused when the game is like that but that's the challenge we need.

"Staying mentally focused in this type of game will get us through the tight ones later on where we have to earn the win."

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