London Leopards had to fight back from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Bristol Academy Flyers 64-63 in the Men’s Sportscover National Cup Final on Sunday at Ponds Forge.

Trailing 50-38 heading into the fourth, the Leopards made a dramatic comeback led by Vernon Teel, Ousman Krubally and David Buchberger, who scored all of the team’s 26 period points. Teel was awarded the game MVP for his 23 point, 13 rebound and 6 assist performance while Krubally had 15 points and 15 boards and Buchberger 11 points.

Buchberger’s three point shot with less than a minute remaining was key, putting Leopards 62-59 up, and free throws from Teel and Krubally pushed London’s total to 64.

Bristol guard Tyrone Treasure did hit an incredible buzzer-beating three and despite some half-hearted appeals from Flyers for a foul on the shot, it wasn’t to be and London won their second National Cup title.

“It couldn’t be better!” said a delighted Leopards coach Dejan Mihevc. “ To win a competition like [the National] Cup is always something special, because you are not allowed to lose and the champion is the team that is perfect in the whole tournament. And to do it with basically the youngest team in the league was even a bigger challenge and a great experience for all the players and everybody around them.”

Doug McLaughlin-Williams led Flyers with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Hatters still supreme

Sheffield Hatters got their season back on track after defeating UWIC Archers 65-56 in the Women’s National Cup Final.

Heading into the game Sheffield had three league defeats, their most in many seasons, which included a 20-0 forfeit against Nottingham Wildcats.

In front of many home supporters at Ponds Forge, however, they won their fourth consecutive National Cup – and 15th overall – with a hard fought win against their rivals.

Hatters coach Vanessa Ellis said: “It was a great win. It is always good to win games but even better to win finals. I am so pleased with the result and proud of the girls. It was a fantastic team performance. The game was a great advert for the women’s game and we were pleased to be part of it.”

Forward Stephanie Gandy was chosen as the game MVP and it wasn’t a hard decision as the American-British forward tallied a 27-point, 15-rebound double-double for Sheffield. Lauren Thomas-Johnson was the only other Hatter to reach double figures with 13 points.

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