Defeat in Cheshire makes it all the harder for Sheffield in BBL title hunt

Sheffield Sharks new boy Steve Dagostino torments the Glasgow Rocks defence. Picture: Ian Anderson
Sheffield Sharks new boy Steve Dagostino torments the Glasgow Rocks defence. Picture: Ian Anderson
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Cheshire Jets 68

Sheffield Sharks 66

For the second weekend in a row the Sharks missed a golden opportunity to move into BBL Championship contention.

After a superb win at home on Friday against Glasgow Rocks the Sharks couldn’t overcome a gritty Cheshire team who just managed to hold off Sheffield with some physical play.

It leaves the Sharks hoping the teams above them slip up with just 13 matches of the regular season remaining.

Player-coach Atiba Lyons refused to make excuses for his team but did say they were on wrong end of some tight refereeing calls:

“It was a physical game. They didn’t play particularly well and neither did we. We missed some layups down the stretch, and some calls didn’t go our way. We shot 11 free throws and they had 23. I think we should have had more.”

The first quarter was Jets v Steve Dagostino as the Italian/American point-guard scored 14 of Sharks’ 20 points, including four of five three point shots.

Jets raced out to a 6-0 lead before three Dagostino triples and a two helped Sheffield move 10-13 in front. Cheshire finished the opening period well though with a Gareth Murray basket edging the home team 22-20 ahead.

It was Jets turn to rain in the threes during the second quarter. Murray made two before the irrepressible Dagostino responded in kind to make it 28-23.

Veteran Calvin Davis got in on the act from beyond the arc to give Jets their biggest lead of the first half at 36-27. And despite good work from Marcus Stout the Sharks could only trim one point off the Cheshire lead by half time (40-32).

Sharks slowly clawed their way during the third quarter. Seven points from Dagostino in a 15-6 run gave them a 55-54 lead with just ten minutes to play.

The final period belonged to the Jets though as they moved 68-62 in front with 2.29 to play. They wouldn’t score again by two missed free throws by Olu Babalola proved crucial as Stout’s four late points proved to be not enough.

Sharks scorers: Dagostino 27, Stout 18, Tuck 8, Babalola 7, Patton 2, Lyons 2, Williams 2.

City of Sheffield Saints beat Derby Trailblazers 66 – 87 yesterday.The first quarter was close, Saints still turned the ball over too often, gifting Derby 11 points, but managed to close out the period up 20 - 22. In the second quarter, thanks to 6 points from Kingsley Ellmer and young John Stewart, 7 from Chris Hackett, and 14 rebounds in total, Saints stretched their lead to 39 - 47. The visitors continued to dominate, and ended the third period with an 11 - 0 run, leading 52 – 64 going into the final 10 minutes. Saints stretched their lead, with Stewart continuing his dominance on the boards, and Jim Rose’s introduction for the last 2 minutes, netting a quick steal and two quick baskets. Saints are at home to Bradford Maroons on Saturday (6.30pm).