Basketball: Sharks hoping to win the battle of the road warriors

Demetrius Jemison has returned to the Sharks
Demetrius Jemison has returned to the Sharks
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It’s not often the Sharks play away at Plymouth Raiders and their opponents will have had a similar length of journey to the match.

But that is the welcome bonus for Atiba Lyons and his players when they travel down to Devon on Sunday.

The Raiders will have played at Leicester Riders in the second leg of their BBL Cup semi-final tomorrow night and could arrive back home more tired than Sheffield.

Leicester lead Plymouth 95-89 after the first leg and are virtually unbeatable on their home court having lost just once in front of their fans since February 2012.

Sharks are also still in the Cup shake-up after their 82-79 first left victory over Newcastle Eagles but it is the league that will be the focus on Sunday, as both look to build on wins over Surrey United last time out.

Lyons said: “Plymouth is an extremely athletic team and explosive offensively. They are a difficult team to beat on their home court.

“They have had an up-and-down start to the season but as Coach (Jay) Marriott gets his footing with his team they are becoming stronger and stronger.

“We just need to compete for 40 minutes.”

That is something Sheffield have done particularly well so far this season, thanks in no small part to a roster which boasts strength in depth. Sharks roster has been boosted by the return of Demetrius Jemison, who has already fitted into the club’s playing rotation in the same style he ended last season.

But Lyons insists that his squad can’t rely on their strength in depth alone.

He added: “I haven’t had depth like this since my second year as head coach.

“I’m not sure how influential it is in a successful season.

“It takes much more than a deep rotation to compete for silverware. No replacement for defence and continuity.”

Sharks next home match against Birmingham Knights on Sunday, December 15 will take place in the EIS ‘blue hall’ which has a smaller capacity than their usual home court.