It took longer than we anticipated but the DBL Sharks Sheffield emphatically booked their place in the Playoffs with a colossal 103-61 win over Glasgow Rocks.
The win guaranteed a Quarter Final match-up with league champions Leicester Riders on Saturday afternoon at the EIS, with a swift second leg down in the Midlands on Sunday.
The tie sees a repeat of the BBL Trophy Final in March when the Sharks narrowly went down by 90-85 in one of the most talked about matches of recent years.
The Sharks went nervously into Thursday’s game, having won only one game in eight previously. The nerves were completely unfounded as a 103-61 win unfolded before the BBC Sport cameras. The Sharks were shooting an outrageous 82% from the field at half time and while this slowed to 61% by the end of the game, it signified how comprehensive the win had been. All ten suited-up players made the score sheet and it signalled a return to the free-flowing, exciting style of play that the team displayed earlier in the season.
Coach Atiba Lyons expressed his pleasure at the manner of the win.
“That was the response I was looking for. The energy was amazing. We were focused from the start. Glasgow are such a talented team and we did a great job. The guys really moved the ball well.”
The team followed that up with a 98-82 win on the road in Plymouth in the final game of regular season last Sunday. It was important to keep the momentum going following the Glasgow win and the guys delivered once again. Dirk Williams delivered yet another twenty point display and it was pleasing to see Rob Marsden produce an eighteen point, twelve rebound double double, underlining the team contribution.
So the Playoff Quarter Finals begin with visit of league champions Leicester Riders to the EIS this Saturday for a 4pm tip off. The quarter finals are an aggregate two leg affair and the second instalment takes place in Leicester on Sunday, also at 4pm. The Sharks are probably the side that has pushed Leicester the closest this season, all four games delivering some element of drama. Besides one overtime game, the BBL Trophy Final was the most memorable, the Sharks going down by 90-85 despite having chances to force a different outcome late in the contest.
We are under no illusions as to the magnitude of the task in front of us. However, the guys are focused, playing great team ball and Coach Lyons has a steely determination to make it to the O2 Arena in London on May 20th. Once again, if the Sheffield sporting public would like to help us this coming Bank Holiday weekend, we’d be delighted to see them filling the EIS this Saturday at 4pm. We hope once more that our opponents will ‘Fear The Fin!’
Tickets for Shark V Riders on Saturday 5th May can be purchased on the night from 6.30pm at EIS Sheffield. Tip off 7.30pm.