Basketball: Sharks face a big weekend in title charge

Sharks captain Mike Tuck. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks captain Mike Tuck. Pic: Dean Woolley.

It’s make or break for Sharks this weekend with two matches that will decide the destiny of the BBL Championship title.

After last week’s games Sheffield are now in a three-horse race to win the league with their visit to Newcastle Eagles tomorrow night potentially decisive.

Eagles, with three matches to play, lead the league by eight points over the Sharks and Worcester Wolves. However, both Sheffield and Worcester have four games in hand on Newcastle and the Sharks have won the season’s head-to-head against Wolves after beating them 82-73 on the road last Friday.

If Sharks beat Newcastle tomorrow then they’ll win the season head-to-head against the Eagles too.

It would leave them needing to win their final six games of the season, or it would allow them to lose one match apart from if it was against Worcester in an as yet arranged fixture.

The scenarios are many but what is almost certain is that if Newcastle come out on top over Sheffield tomorrow then the league title will be theirs.

The north-east club finish their campaign against the BBL’s bottom two sides – Birmingham and Surrey and will be expected to beat both comfortably.

Awaiting Sheffield on Sunday is a home game against last season’s treble winners Leicester Riders in the EIS Blue Hall (4pm).

Riders are fourth in the table but will revel in their role of ‘spoiler’ for the Sharks’ attempts to take their crown.

Sheffield captain Mike Tuck said: “Everyone on the team knows how important this weekend is for us, so they will all be fired up and ready to play. These will be tough games against solid teams so staying focused and coming into the games prepared will be key.

“The last time we saw Leicester was the double overtime thriller back in January, which we lost.”

Eagles forward Charles Smith said: “A lot of people are saying that this game is the title decider but there are more games to played and we need to win all of them to win the league, not just Friday’s game. We need to take them out of their comfort zone and make sure we finish off defensive possessions and rebound.”