Basketball: Sheffield Sharks hold off Lions to claim spot in semis
Sheffield Sharks survived a huge scare against London Lions as they took their place in the semi-final of the BBL play-offs.
Despite giving up 25 offensive rebounds, Sharks stood firm amidst a ferocious comeback attempt by Lions to win 169-148 on aggregate and progress to the final four.
Taking a comfortable 24 point aggregate lead to London, Sharks silenced the Copper Box crowd early, finishing the first quarter up 18-25 to take complete control of the tie.
The second quarter was not such plain sailing for Sheffield however as Lions quickly levelled the game up 27-27.
Despite being unable to secure rebounds against Demond Watt, Sharks only trailed 39-37 at the half, maintaining a 22 point aggregate lead.
Watt continued his dominant performance in the second half as Sharks tried desperately to weather the Lions storm.
An immense 24 second chance points from London wasn’t enough to close the gap though as Sharks kept Lions’ lead at 56-50.
Sharks captain Mike Tuck, having a poor day by his usually high standards, was then ejected from the game after lashing out at Jamal Williams in frustration.
Smelling blood, Lions pounced and hit a buzzer beating three at the end of the third to take a 65-50 lead and put Sheffield under huge pressure.
But Sharks rallied where lesser teams would crumble, scoring six consecutive points to kill the London fightback.
Sheffield’s brilliant shooting eventually saved them from their rebounding troubles as they astoundingly converted the same number of field goals as London in 24 less attempts.
Watt finished with a monstrous 32 points and 22 rebounds but the final score of 78-75 in favour of London wasn’t enough as Sharks progressed in the playoffs.
Sharks will face either Newcastle Eagles or Glasgow Rocks in the semi-finals.