Sheffield Sharks 87
Manchester Giants 68
SHEFFIELD Sharks fans have waited almost a year for a performance like this but on the eve of New Year’s Eve they were finally treated to a display of true team basketball.
The Sharks ended 2012 on a high as they brushed aside a pesky Manchester Giants side at the EIS yesterday with five players scoring in double figures and two others within one basket of joining them.
It was perhaps the sign of things to come in 2013 that the Sharks hosted matches for their under 16s and under 18s teams before taking to the court themselves and then saw excellent displays from Nick Lewis and Zach Gachette, who are both part of their development plans with Sheffield Hallam University.
However, it was the experienced players who should get the plaudits for putting away the Giants.
A 27-12 first quarter, which included a 17-4 run up the break, set the tone for Sheffield’s dominance. Giants closed the gap ever so slightly before half time as the team’s went into the locker rooms with Sharks leading 44-31.
And the visitors were right back in it at 53-48 down after a 6-2 burst. Sharks allowed them no closer though as American Demetrius Jemison began a 12-0 run up to the end of the third quarter, which was capped off by four quick points from Gachette.
Sheffield added the first six points of the final period - four from Jemison and two free throws by Mike Tuck - before the Giants finally troubled the scorers again.
A Lewis three from the corner proved to be the final dagger blow for the Sharks as he made it 78-57.
Tuck led all scorers with an impressive 16 points and 11 rebounds while BJ Holmes contributed 14 points.
The victory edges Sheffield closer to the top eight play-off positions, which should be the minimum target. It suddenly looks a lot more positive for next year.
Giants will be Sharks first opponents of 2013 in Manchester on January 3 in the BBL Trophy.
SHARKS: Tuck 16, Holmes 14, Williams 13, Jemison 12, Babalola 13, Lewis 9, Gachette 8, Sing 2.