Basketball: Sharks 60 Wolves 62 (first leg)

Sheffield Sharks' Patrick Horstmann in action against Wolves at the EIS.
Sheffield Sharks' Patrick Horstmann in action against Wolves at the EIS.
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A superb final quarter by the Sharks ensured they are still very much in their BBL Trophy semi-final tie with Worcester Wolves.

Sheffield trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half of the first leg contest at the EIS but battled back to reduce the deficit to just as they lost 62-60.

The damage could have been far worse for the Sharks as the Wolves showed why they are top of the BBL Championship over the first three quarters.

But Sheffield limited them to just one basket - a three point shot by Jamal Williams - in the final period and finished the match on an 11-0 burst with scores from BJ Holmes, Nick Lewis, Mike Tuck and Patrick Horstamann.

Sharks will have been delighted to cut the gap to what is effectively just one basket after it looked as though their grip on the trophy they won last season was beginning to slip.

The Wolves were immediately looking the stronger team as guard Zaire Taylor controlled the visitors’ offence and a 12-1 run opened up an 18-7 lead.

Sharks were struggling to get into a rhythm at either end of the court but their main problem was getting past a suffocating Wolves defence.

Threes by Holmes and Tuck finally gave the home fans something to cheer about but the deficit was still 21-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Worse was to come after the break as the impressive Jamal Williams started a 10-1 run for Worcester to ease them into a 33-16 lead.

The advantage became 20 when Will Creekmore capped a 6-0 Wolves burst to make it 39-19.

Sheffield reduced the deficit slightly to 43-25 at half time after good play from Horstmann and Colin Sing but the league leaders were well on top.

It was much better from Sheffield in the third quarter.

The energy that had been missing in the first half had now returned and a 13-4 to start the period brought the score back to 47-36.

However, the irrepressible Taylor drained a long three to stop the run and the Wolves lead ballooned back to 56-40 before a 6-3 close to the quarter by Sheffield made it 59-46.

The return leg is on Wednesday evening in Worcester but before then the Sharks will travel north to Durham Wildcats on Sunday afternoon hoping to keep in touch with the three teams ahead of them in the British Basketball League Championship standings.

* Sharks scorers: Horstmann 17, Holmes 15, Tuck 11, Babalola 7, Lewis 5, Sing 2, Gachette 2, Brownell 1.