It wasn’t the outcome we’d hoped for but the DBL Sharks Sheffield can be rightly proud of the huge part they played in a thrilling BBL Trophy Final.
Leicester Riders sealed the victory late in the final quarter by 90-85 after the Sharks had staged an astonishing comeback.
A 17-point deficit was clawed back and a three point shot from Chris Alexander agonisingly rimmed out as time ran out on the Sharks.
The snowy weather of the previous week had been a concern for everyone. However, it relented enough for the team and our yellow-clad band of fans to make the journey up to Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
The team greatly appreciated the vocal backing of the ‘SharkNation’ as a thrilling game played out before the TV cameras.
We didn’t make the greatest of starts as the Riders went out to a 12-2 lead. Our Doncaster-born forward Rob Marsden led the fightback with a typical display of Yorkshire grit and eventually ended with 16 points and 9 rebounds. However, things looked ominous as Leicester still retained a 52-41 lead by half time.
We also had to manage a growing foul count in the third period and despite Marsden’s best efforts, we were still behind by 73-64 with ten minutes to play.
Tony Wroblicky fouled out with more than seven minutes left of the game and it was a fired-up Chris Alexander who began to take charge.
He levelled the game at 75 each and we got our noses heroically in front at 80-83 with two minutes to go. Eric Robertson nailed a three for the Riders to put them back ahead. Alexander’s three-point heave bounced agonisingly around the rim not once but twice before refusing to drop as Leicester went on to claim a 90-85 win in a game acclaimed by many as a great advert for British basketball.
Our Captain Mike Tuck, who himself contributed 17 points and 8 rebounds spoke of the tense nature of the loss and paid tribute to our travelling support.
“A frustrating loss for us tonight. Our guys battled to make it an exciting game but Leicester were very tough down the stretch. A huge shout out to all our fans that made the trip up to Glasgow today. The Yellow Army came out in numbers and from myself and the team, we appreciate you! Stick with us, there is still a lot of basketball to play this season.”
Rob Marsden vied with Chris Alexander for the MVP award and had this to say.
“We showed incredible heart to fight back and put ourselves in a position to win. We can be proud of our performance but we’re gutted we couldn’t bring back the Trophy for our fans.’
Disappointing though the loss was, there is no time to brood. There is further silverware to play for this season in the shape of the Playoffs and we continue our journey on Friday in front of the BBC cameras once more.
In a double header of Sheffield hoops, we take on Cheshire Phoenix at the EIS following the WBBL game between Sheffield Hatters and Oaklands Wolves. It is a tremendous chance to catch our premier men’s and women’s teams in action on one night. As Mike Tuck says, there is still plenty to play for this season and the watching public are guaranteed another memorable night of basketball action.