Sharks supreme

New Manager of Burnley Football Club Eddie Howe and assistant Jason Tindall.'Photo Ben Parsons
New Manager of Burnley Football Club Eddie Howe and assistant Jason Tindall.'Photo Ben Parsons
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Sheffield Sharks became the History Boys when they destroyed Mersey Tigers to retain the BBL Cup.

Never in the competition’s past had a team won the Cup two seasons in row.

And there was more; guard Steve Dagostino scored a record final points haul of 35, which included eight three-point shots – another first.

It all added up to one of Sharks greatest ever team performances, which was made all the more impressive by the strength of the BBL Championship leading Tigers opposition.

The eventual 93-66 scoreline far from flattered the One Health sponsored-Sharks. Player-coach Atiba Lyons set up his team perfectly to thwart the Tigers offence and pick apart their much vaunted defence.

Tormentor in chief was Italian-American Dagostino, who seemingly could do no wrong.

His speed off the dribble set former Shark Perry Lawson back on his heels. And when Lawson, clearly scared of his pace, defended closer to his own basket Dagostino, a summer signing, began to rain three-point shots.

Dagostino said he enjoyed every moment of the final: “My team-mates were finding me open. I had a little less confidence and a little more focus to knock down the shots.

“The way I play is pretty irritating for the other team’s fans and I think I irritated the Tigers today. It was a team effort though and I’m just delighted to get the win.”

The victory is further proof of Lyons increasing maturity as a BBL coach. The New Yorker has perhaps not received the amount of praise he should have for last season’s Cup win, but there can be no doubt now of his ability as a play-caller.

Lyons, in his third season in the job, said his life is made much easier by having players such as Dagostino in his team:

“Steve (Dagostino) is a great player. He’s everything you want as a coach. He’s hard working, he can pass the ball and he can shoot. He just does everything you need him to do; he really led the team tonight.

“It’s always sweet (to win a final). This year had a better feel. It is a great accomplishment to win it again. I didn’t think it would turn out like this, I thought it may go down to a last second play.

“But that’s the great thing about basketball; you never know what will happen.”

How Sharks season unfolds from here is a great unknown. If they carry on in this form then they may just make a bid for a long-awaited league title.