Basketball: Sharks begin the season on the defensive


The opening weekend of the British Basketball League season couldn’t have gone much better for the Sharks.

Two victories - one at home and one on the road - and two defensive performances to make coach Atiba Lyons proud.

“The (defensive) goal is under 70 points and that was a tremendous display of effort and hard work,” he said after the 73-61 victory over Cheshire Phoenix at the EIS last Friday.

“It’s a good start. We can do things better offensively.”

That request was answered on Sunday when the Sharks travelled to Manchester Giants and came away with another comfortable 71-57 win.

Another double-header awaits this weekend with Plymouth Raiders visiting the EIS tomorrow night before the season’s biggest test so far on Saturday - an away trip to last year’s treble winners Leicester Riders.

The Sharks are still waiting to finalise whether point guard BJ Holmes will return to the club but Lyons’ three new signings, Jeremie Simmons, Patrick Horstmann and Da’Quan Cook have all made impressive starts.

Lyons said:“Jeremie is a cool character.

“We had some great conversations this summer and I could just tell he’s the kind of guy who thrives under pressure.

“He wants to make plays, he wants the ball in his hands. I think he’s a big game player.”

And as for Horstmann, who is almost an identical type of play as captain Mike Tuck, Lyons said: “That was the plan!

“Mike gets banged up a lot so we needed a spare just in case.

“Patrick is hard-working, he can shoot the ball, he can crash the boards and is relentless.

“No frills, nothing fancy and he’ll only get better.

“He might take a bit longer than some with him coming straight from college but when he gets it going we’ll be really tough.”

Lyons added: “Da’Quan is a guy that comes with pedigree. He’s professional and takes what comes and tries to soak it in.

“You can’t just throw someone in and play them 30 minutes. You give him a little taste and hopefully it helps them along quicker.”

Tuck, who led Sharks scoring in both of last weekend’s fixtures, said:“Two wins over the weekend was the perfect way to start the season.

“We’ve hit the ground running and it will definitely give the team a lot of confidence going into this weekend.”