Basketball: Sharks 70 Wildcats 58

BJ Holmes leads a Sharks fast break against Durham Wildcats. Pic: Dean Woolley.
BJ Holmes leads a Sharks fast break against Durham Wildcats. Pic: Dean Woolley.

The Sharks were forced to battle but eventually their class told against Durham Wildcats last night at the EIS.

Sheffield’s 70-58 victory sends them through to the BBL Cup semi-finals against Newcastle Eagles but it needed a big fourth quarter effort.

Tied at 50-50 big German Patrick Horstmann scored six points in a 9-0 start to the final period that gave Sharks just enough breathing room.

From there they extended their lead out to 65-52 and eventually cruised home with BJ Holmes sealing the match from the free throw line.

Holmes said the no-frills Horstmann was a popular member of the squad: “Pat is a hustle player mixed with a skilled player.

“He’s smart and does all the little things. He can shoot and just scrap.

“That’s the kind of player that Pat is and the type of player who fits our team the best.”

Holmes also praised the fighting spirit of the Wildcats.

He said: “They didn’t quit, they played hard the whole game and we really had to dig this one out.”

Sharks began very brightly with a 6-0 run followed quickly with a 9-2 burst to assume control at 15-2.

Durham are a patient opponent, though, and gradually began to chip away at the Sharks lead.

Veteran Ralph Bucci scored the visitors final points of the first quarter as Sheffield led 19-10.

Nick Lewis scored Sharks first three points of the second period and four from Mike Tuck re-established Sheffield’s nine point lead at 26-17. And Sharks still lead by nine at 32-23 before an 8-4 run by Durham to close the half made it 36-31.

Durham took the lead at 45-40 before a 10-0 Sharks run followed by a 5-0 Wildcats burst levelled the match at 50-50 heading into the final quarter.

Sharks travel to Manchester Giants on Sunday in the BBL Championship.

* Scorers: Simmons 19, Holmes 18, Horstmann 10, Babalola 9, Tuck 7, Lewis 7.