Defensive improvements pay off for Sharks

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ATIBA Lyons, the Sheffield Sharks head coach, says it is a step up on defensive intensity that has led to his team winning two out of their last three matches.

After a poor start to the season, losing their first four BBL Championship matches, the Sharks beat Durham Wildcats on Friday to get off the mark in the league. The result came on the back of a BBL Cup triumph against Cheshire Jets and a solid performance at high-flying Surrey Heat that saw them only lose due to a mad five-minute spell at the end of the match. And Lyons said the 74-58 win over the Wildcats was down to stopping the opponents playing: “I think defensively we’re looking a lot better than we were.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do on offence, which we’ll be working on this week. Our rebounding is improving because we’re boxing people out. The guys are becoming accustomed to what they need to do.

“We’ve also had some good match ups against teams size wise. Maybe that’s helped as well.”

Lyons gave a debut to 19-year-old Canadian guard Nick Lewis during the Durham match. Lewis is one of a number of Sheffield Hallam University students in the Sharks squad and has been training with the team regularly.

Now with his paperwork all in order he was given his chance in BBL action. “He’s very skilled,” said Lyons. “He’s a good passer and can see the game very well.”