Leicester Riders 79 Sheffield Sharks 67 (165-140 on aggregate)

Sheffield Sharks' 2017/18 play-off hopes were ended by a 165-140 quarter-final aggregate defeat to BBL champions Leicester Riders.

Sunday, 6th May 2018, 8:26 pm
Updated Sunday, 6th May 2018, 8:31 pm

Sharks went into the tie knowing the size of the task which faced them - with Leicester having won all four of the previous meetings between the sides this season.

And, despite a confident start at home in the first leg, Sheffield were gradually overpowered by their illustrious opponents, who recorded a comfortable aggregate win.

Sunday’s second leg was the sixth time that Riders have beaten Sharks in all competitions this season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They have now won nine straight meetings between the sides since the 2016 play-off final, which Sharks famously won.

Sheffield made a 9-0 start to the tie at EIS Sheffield on Saturday, and never trailed at any of the quarter breaks during the first leg.

But the visitors took control in the fourth period with a dominant 14-27 quarter which ultimately proved decisive in the tie.

And Leicester never looked back in the tie having taken a commanding 86-73 lead home with them, scoring the last seven points of the first quarter in the second leg.

JR Holder sparked that run with a three-pointer and ended it too as he shot perfectly for eight points in the opening ten minutes.

They added the first four of the second stanza to lead 30-16, sending the advantage close to thirty on aggregate, and there was no way back for the Sharks as the hosts ran out 79-67 winners on the night.

Despite defeat in the quarter-finals for the second season running and a poor run of form which saw Sheffield tumble from the top four to finish an eventual eighth in the league, Sharks can look back on the 2017/18 season as a relative success.

A BBL Cup semi-final was followed up with a BBL Trophy final appearance, when Atiba Lyons’ side fell desperately short of their first trophy since that famous day at London’s o2 Arena in May 2016, when they beat Leicester to lift the play-off title.

And Sharks fans will now look forward to the 2018/19 season, a campaign in which Sheffield will be looking to finalise a move into the new designated arena on the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.