Levett Essex Leopards’ long trip to Middlesbrough ended in disappointment as they went down 82-76 against Tees Valley Mohawks at the weekend.

The Big Cats outscored the home side 29-20 in the final quarter, but after a terrible second period, they had given themselves too much to do.

Mohawks had gone into the game without a win to their name, but the signing of American J Hendricks gave them a lift, and Leopards found him and fello w guard Ryan Nelson difficult to stop as the pair finished with 21 points apiece .

Justin Hitchman returned to his early - season form to lead the Leopards with 17 points and six rebounds, hitting a perfect nine-from-nine at the foul line. Ladi Brown also finished with 17 points , adding four boards, while Courtney Va n Beest added 10 points and six rebounds .

The following day Ogunjimi’s team eventually went down 86-83 at Team Northumbria.

Ashby led the way with a game-high 24 points while Brown finished with 16 points and eight rebounds .

The lead was trimmed to 48-38 at halftime but although a Brown three helped cut the deficit to five after a minute of the second half but the home side regained control to lead 66-53.

Five straight Ashby points cut that lead to eight points after two fourth period minutes but Leopards’ chances appeared over as four Jack Wilson points made it a 17-point game with five minutes remaining.