Tigers put paid to Sharks’ title dream

Atiba Lyons of the Sheffield Sharks
Atiba Lyons of the Sheffield Sharks

One Health Sharks Sheffield’s title challenge had a disappointing end on Tuesday night with defeat at potential champions Mersey Tigers.

Needing to beat the Tigers, win against Glasgow Rocks last night and then beat the Tigers again on Friday at the EIS as well as hope other results went in their favour, Sharks were disappointing in an 88-75 loss.

The Sharks will now concentrate on getting ready for the play-offs. Third place seems assured and with it home advantage in the post-season.

Despite never being in control of their own destiny for the title in recent weeks Sheffield player-coach Atiba Lyons says it was still disappointing when his team were finally out of the running:

“We’re down about it. The last time we played them we should have closed it out, but we can’t hang our heads over it we still have got lots to play for.

“I think they were better than us on the night. They came out sharper on ball, wanted it more than we did.

“It was always going to be a tall order, they play well at home fired up did small things better. They played harder and outworked us.”

Sharks attention now turns to the play-offs. Mersey on Friday could have a sense of occasion if Tigers haven’t wrapped up the title by then, but for Lyons it is a chance to re-motivate his team:

“I don’t care what is riding on the match.

“We go out to win whether they’re playing for it or not. They need to worry about that not us

“We need to get back in form for the play-offs. We need to get fire back in our belly. It’s our last home match of the regular season; we need to get hungry, have some passion and come out fighting.”

After the regular season has been completed, the top eight teams in the BBL Championship table progress to the play-offs.

Sharks will play home and away over the weekend of April 15-17, with the winners determined by the aggregate scores over the two legs.

The semi final round is again held over two legs around the weekend of April 22- 24. The play-off final is Saturday April 30 at the NIA in Birmingham.