Sheffield Sharks stormed to the top of the British Basketball League table last night thanks to an excellent victory over Worcester Wolves at the EIS.
It was an almost perfect all-round display by the Sharks against a Wolves team that had lost just once in the league before arriving in Sheffield.
The win was based on a dominant third quarter, which saw the Sharks limit their visitors to just six points and extend their advantage from 40-33 at half time to 57-39 entering the last ten minutes.
Sharks scored the first four points of the final period and didn’t panic as Worcester resorted to fouling in an attempt to slow the clock down.
Coach Atiba Lyons was delighted with his team. He said: “It feels good (to be top of the table). The last few games we’ve had better cohesion and the pace has been better.
“Worcester are one of those teams who never quit - they run their sets so well it can wear you down.
“We did a good job, guys played well. Whoever rotated in was fresh and made an impact on the game in a positive way. If you have a deep team that can be the key.”
A strong start was important for the Sharks against a team who had lost their previous two matches (one in the league and one in the BBL Cup) and they got it via an 11-2 burst, which included a BJ Holmes three and skipper Mike Tuck’s only points of the first half.
Holmes and Olu Babalola were proving to be Sharks main threats offensively and when Tuck picked up a couple of early fouls coach Atiba Lyons was forced into running some unfamiliar line ups.
However, it didn’t affect their rhythm defensively and with, what is now becoming customary stinginess, they limited the Wolves to just 15 points while scoring 22.
Sharks pulled away to 38-27 late in the second quarter before a 6-2 Wolves run just before half time made it 40-33.
A 15-0 burst in the third quarter blew the match open in the Sharks favour and even the last four points of the period by Worcester could only slightly dent the margin heading into the final period.
Sharks are made of stern stuff and they eased home with Holmes’ 18 points leading the scoring and Tuck, despite limited minutes, playing a big part late on to score nine of Sheffield’s final 11 points.