the tweet was posted very early on Saturday morning, but it said a lot about Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons’s state of mind.
“Still haven’t fallen asleep,” it said. And no wonder he hadn’t dropped off after seeing his team slip to a third consecutive defeat the previous evening and relinquish the BBL Cup for the first time in three seasons.
Two losses against title favourites Newcastle in the league and another to a buzzer-beater from the returning Paul Williams in the Cup has left Lyons battling to get Sharks’ season back on track.
However, despite the lack of shut-eye he’s convinced his team is moving in the right direction.
He said: “We’ve been getting stronger each performance. I know we’ve lost but our performances have been getting better each time.
“Our continuity is getting stronger, the guys are reading the offence a lot better and we’re getting more familiar. Everyone starts panicking after a few losses but I’m not worried at all.”
Sharks have got into a worrying habit of falling into large deficits before rallying late in matches. They did it again against Plymouth as they fell in 15 points behind.
Lyons said: “We did a good job fighting back in the end after digging a hole in the third.
“In the short space of time we’ve been together we’ve been down a few times and we’ve made runs - with the exception of the Newcastle match - so I wasn’t too worried about that.”
Sharks will now have to hand back the cup they won against Cheshire in 2010 and defended so brilliantly against Mersey Tigers in January.
Lyons remained philosophical about losing a trophy from the cabinet. He said: “It doesn’t hurt anymore than any of the other competitions I’ve lost.
“It’s just that we’ve won this one, but a loss is a loss at the end of the day.”
Sheffield basketball starlets Marko Backovic - son of Sharks director Sarah Backovic - and Marcus Welsh have made it through to an 18 player England Under 16 training squad ahead of next September’s European Championships.