The DBL Sharks Sheffield proved that there would be no hangover from their BBL Trophy final defeat by taking down Cheshire Phoenix in front of the BBC cameras last weekend.
A double header of Sheffield basketball was kicked off in winning style by the Hatters, who defeated Oaklands Wolves by 79-60 in the WBBL, followed by Chris Alexander inspiring the Sharks to an 88-81 success over the BBL Cup holders, Cheshire.
Alexander once again belied his 34 years to come up with an astonishing 31 points.
He had a particularly successful night from beyond the arc with 5 three point scores but also continued to mesmerise and astound with his lightning-fast drives into the paint.
Coach Atiba Lyons always felt confident there would be no negative reaction to the Trophy final loss.
“You get that close to silverware and fall just short, you end up with a situation where you capitulate and fall apart, or you get motivated to do it again. These guys are definitely motivated, hungry and re-focused and it’s a pleasure coaching them.”
There were increased minutes in the game for Sol Rolls-Tyson and Eddy Brownell, something which is to prove important as the season winds down to a conclusion and playoffs loom on the horizon. Coach Lyons explained why.
“We’re starting to find our identity, starting to find our roles, I’m starting to find out how to use everybody the best and it looks better.
“We’ve got to increase our depth, get those guys playing more minutes and they did a fantastic job defensively. I think offensively they’ll get better.
“Just a little bit of nerves and some of those shots they missed are definitely makeable.”
The funding of British Basketball is a huge matter for debate right now and the broadcast of the two games on the BBC last week was yet another good showcase as coach Lyons confirmed.
“England has got all the potential and the intangibles to be a great league. It’s a really good solid league now but if it got commerciality and visibility on TV, it’ll be a great league.”
The Cheshire win puts us in fourth place with two games in hand on our next opponents, third-placed Glasgow Rocks.
Yes, it’s a swift return to the Emirates Arena and wins in those games in hand would see us pull level with the Scottish side.
We also get more TV coverage with the game being screened on the Freesports channel on Sunday at 5pm.
Our next batch of home games come in the Easter period. We host Worcester (28th March), Bristol (30th March) and Leeds (1st April).
Plenty of opportunity for our fans to come along and cheer us into the Playoffs and plenty of opportunity for new supporters to come along and see what all the excitement is all about!