It was another productive weekend for the DBL Sharks Sheffield.
The lengthy journey down to Plymouth is never one to be relished but it is all the more tolerable when you come away with a 66-57 win.
The success gave us our sixth straight league win as we move to 7-3 for the season and a well-consolidated third place in the BBL table.
We took the decision to travel down the day before and in hindsight, it was a good one.
Plymouth were missing point guard Josh Wilcher and forward Joonas Jarvelainen but still had the exceptional talents of Rashad Hassan and Donte Nicholas in their line-up.
That led to a more defensive-minded contest than usual but once again we made a good start. Plymouth fought back to make the game extremely close at 34-31 by half time.
Even after three quarters, an intriguing final period awaited with our lead at 52-47.
Bizarrely there then followed a forty-five minute delay as Plymouth’s ‘Foxy’ mascot shattered the backboard performing a dunk in the between-quarter break.
With a new backboard in place, we toughed out the home side coming to within four points before pulling away with a 7-0 run to claim the win.
On a night where defences were to the fore, the stage was tailor-made for our skipper Mike Tuck.
Still wearing protection after suffering a broken nose a couple of weeks ago, the ‘masked avenger’ poured in 19 points with 9 rebounds on a 7 out of 9 shooting effort.
There were equally valuable performances from Chris Alexander (15 points), Dirk Williams (12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Rob Marsden (10 points, 6 rebounds) as four of our starting five came away with double figure scoring.
We confined the free-scoring Hassan to just 17 points and his equally liberal colleague Nicholas to just 9 as we showed that we can mix and adapt to any style and be a match for anyone in this season’s BBL Championship.
It was also nice to sign off on a winning note as we are now without a game for the next two weekends.
This weekend we are without a game due to international commitments and the Great Britain side playing in Manchester and the BBL fixture computer has left us without a game for the following weekend either.
We next hit the court on December 7th when we take the relatively short journey down to Leicester Riders before returning home to the EIS on Friday December 14th when Newcastle Eagles are the visitors.
It’s nice to go into the break in good shape – not even a smashed backboard can stop Atiba and the guys at the moment!