Eyes on the prize

Sheffield Sharks Player coach Atiba Lyons.
Sheffield Sharks Player coach Atiba Lyons.
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Sharks have to play smart today if they want to end the season on a high, says player-coach Atiba Lyons.

A BBL Play-off Final with league champions Mersey Tigers awaits Lyons’ team this afternoon at the NIA in Birmingham. After beating Tigers at the same venue to win the cup in January, Lyons says he knows exactly what his team needs to do to add another trophy.

He said:“I think that when we play a smart game, if we keep turnovers down and defensively keep a team under 80 point, then the other team has to play incredibly well to win. If we do that we’ll be in the driver’s seat,” he said.

“With that being said, in the first match of the quarters and semis (of the Play-offs) we didn’t do that. So it depends what team comes out and executes those points.

“It will be a defensive affair. We have played each other three times since the cup final and all the games have been tight. It will come down to key possessions and looking after the ball.”

Lyons thinks beating the Tigers would be reward for his players being snubbed in the league’s end of season awards.

He said: “For the players I think that a lot of our guys deserved to be on them. You hear that you’re the most talented team, but then no one gets credit for it. As their coach I’d have liked to see them honoured.”

Forward Mike Tuck is one who could consider himself unlucky not to make the BBL Team of the Year. He says a win against Mersey would answer the question of who has been best this year.

He said: “Throughout the season we have thought of ourselves as the best team in the league. Sometimes we have proven it; there have been a few bumps in the road but all in all I think we’re the best.

“This is the stage that we have to prove it on. If we win then it shows to the rest of the league, and in particular to Mersey, that we are the best.”