Sharks grind out opening night win after Jets give them a scare

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THE Sharks got their season off to a positive start last night with a solid overall effort from Atiba Lyons’ team against Cheshire Jets at the EIS in the BBL Trophy.

The victory will be most welcome but there is still plenty to work on for Lyons, who still has two spots to fill on his roster in the backcourt.

Cheshire were tricky opponents. Long and experienced up front they raced into a 6-20 first quarter lead on the back of an 18-2 run before settling on a 10-20 advantage at the break. The margin stretched to 10-25 early in the second quarter before the Sharks finally began to click.

Nate Reinking often looked as though he was still suffering from the virus he picked up while playing for Great Britain in the summer, but on other occasions looked the class player on the court.

He was integral to a Sheffield charge, which brought the score back to 30-35 at half time. An 11-2 burst after the interval, with five points from Reinking, gave Sharks a 41-37 lead but they allowed Jets to immediately reply with a 9-0 run to help the visitors to a 45-47 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Lyons played the same five players for the last nine minutes of the match and they gradually wore down the Jets. Mike Tuck scored nine points in a 15-8 run to put Sharks 62-57 on top. Jets levelled at 62-62 after a three from Adam Brown and a two by Matt Schneck.

Olu Babalola gave Sheffield the lead for good with 40 seconds to play and new signing Justin Dobbins made the game safe with a layup.

n SHARKS: Langhurst 14, Reinking 13, Tuck 11, Babalola 8, Dobbins 6, Gachette, 6, Lyons 5, Sing 3.