Sharks attending the ‘big dance’ for yet another year
Twenty six seasons in the British Basketball League, twenty six seasons qualified for the post-season playoffs!
It took a nailbiter in Bristol last Friday but a 91-96 overtime win coupled with a 92-84 loss for Surrey on the road at London Lions saw the B Braun Sheffield Sharks attending the ‘big dance’ for yet another year.
The London result was confirmed shortly after tip-off in our Friday road game in Bristol but we had gone into the weekend with an inkling that matters would be resolved. We didn’t quite have it all our own way. We were cool, calm and collected at 36-44 by half time and even after three quarters, we were still in command at 58-63. Credit to the Flyers who fought back in the final period and it took an outrageous three pointer from Eric Lockett to send the game to overtime on the buzzer with the scores tied at 80-80.
A floater from eventual MVP Jeremy Hemsley and a three from Jordan Ratinho saw us take a five point lead midway through the additional five minutes and we toughed it out to seal the win at 91-96. Jeremy’s season-best 30 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals on a remarkable 10 of 12 shooting effort gave us another reason to celebrate.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we played out a remarkable double overtime win over Worcester Wolves last Sunday. We came back from a twelve point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter as Kipper Nichols hit his first points of the game with a three to send the game into the extra five minutes with the score at 69-69. Kipper’s layup ensured a further five minutes with the score at 80-80 and it took an outrageous Antwon Lillard triple right on the buzzer to give us a 91-88 win. Antwon gained the MVP plaudits for his 20 point, 8 rebound, 6 assist effort but there was a seasons-best 14 points and 8 rebounds for Mike Tuck, making him only the second Sharks player to break the 4,200 league points barrier behind the legendary Todd Cauthorn.
Our efforts mean that we could finish anywhere from fourth to seventh sp we still have plenty to play for in our final three season games. This weekend, we head to Surrey on Friday and then Plymouth on Sunday to tackle the side chasing second place. It is only after the completion of regular season we will know our playoff quarter final opponents.