Basketball: Leopards join Towers at the top

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The Independent Online
The physical contact owed more to the Five Nations, but the Leopards survived the scrum at the Brentwood Leisure Centre last night to earn an 86-77 win that puts them joint top of the Budweiser League with London Towers.

John White sliced through Sheffield's defence for 11 points out of a first quarter lead of 21-16, while on defence Makeeva Perry and Robert Youngblood were psyched up for John Amaechi's first game in the capital's hinterland since returning to England.

Youngblood's aerial block sent the 6ft 10in Amaechi clattering into the basket support, but the England centre took the wake-up call. He battled to lead all scorers with 20 points.

Amaechi's first field basket capped a 10-2 run to give Sheffield a 26- 23 lead and Michael Payne's three- pointer took them 31-30 ahead.

Eric Burks and Ryan Cuff tore Sharks defence to shreds in a 12-0 run which they extended to 22-5 to lead 52-36 at the interval. Leopards gave Sharks a three minute start to the second half, being out-scored 7-0 and Sheffield stayed within 12 points in the third quarter to trail 65-57.

- Richard Taylor