having a two-week break between matches can often be more of a hindrance than a help, but Sheffield Sharks made the most of their time off to prepare perfectly for MK Lions last night.
In what is possibly their best all-round performance of the season, the Sharks made a decent Lions team look distinctly ordinary to win easily at the EIS.
The victory was formed during an excellent first quarter that Sharks won 28-13. Their ball movement was good and crucially several players all had early points.
Lions rallied in the second period to trim the gap back to seven (44-37) at half time but a 10-0 run to start the third quarter put enough daylight between the teams to take any tension out of the match.
A Justin Dobbins tip in at the end of the third quarter made it 65-51 but it was point guard Jimmy Langhurst who put the game beyond the Lions with 16 points, including four three pointers, in the final 10 minutes.
The American said he was delighted with his and the team’s display: “From an individual standpoint I was feeling good, I felt in the groove.
“It showed tonight that everyone was fresh. We were all hitting our shots in the first quarter and our offence was flowing. When you’re making shots you feel good.”
Player-coach Atiba Lyons was equally as happy for his team to play so positively after a 13 day gap since they won at Durham Wildcats.
He said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect because some times it can work the other way.
“But the guys came back fresh.
“I was happy with how the guys started to the game.
“We were a little down in the second quarter but we made runs and took care of squashing their runs when we needed to.
“They’re a good team, they can be really explosive so I’m surprised that we kept them to 66 points. I thought 75-80 would be great for us.
“Everyone did something. We only scored 88 points but won by 20 so we can’t be disappointed by that.”
Sharks are back in the north-east again tonight with their second visit to Durham.
Lyons said: “We know them pretty well, but they know us too. It should be interesting. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.
* SHARKS: Langhurst 28, Dobbins 18, Reinking 15, Babalola 8, Sing 6, Tuck 6, Gachette 2, Lyons 2.