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Basketball: Panthers' pace knocks spots off Leopards

THE PANTHERS outpaced the Leopards at the Doncaster Dome last night when the new London franchise paid for failing to obtain work permits for their American imports and lost 65-55 on the opening weekend of the Budweiser League season, writes Duncan Hooper.

London Leopards' Henri Abrahams and Robert Youngblood were forced to watch from the sidelines as Doncaster took control during the second quarter and led until the end. Chris Fite, who joined Panthers from Manchester, scored 19 points.

Five of last season's Guildford Kings squad are with the Leopards, but Kevin Cadle, the former Guildford coach, and the 6ft 10in centre, Martin Henlan, moved to London Towers, who opened with victories against Hemel Hempstead Royals and Sunderland Scorpions.

Joel Moore led Towers with 20 points in the 67-52 win at Hemel on Saturday, then Mark Hubbard led them with 19 in last night's 85-55 win over Sunderland in front of 2,000 fans at Wembley.