IT took a while coming but Sheffield Sharks finally clicked into gear last night at the EIS to record their first victory of the season.
Their blow out triumph over Cheshire Jets also had the advantage of sending them through to the quarter-finals of the BBL Cup.
Three league defeats to start the campaign had left the Sharks short of confidence, but against one of the weakest teams in the BBL they did enough to suggest that they’re better than their results so far. Sharks’ first five points were all free throws but once Mike Tuck had put in a field goal they began to find their range.
Andrew Bridge had perhaps his best quarter in a Sharks vest since he returned to the club just before the start of the season.
Finding space in the corners he drained a couple of trademark threes and generally looked a lot sharper and more confident in possession.
Bridge’s second three sparked an 11-4 run to end the first quarter putting Sharks 23-15 on top.
While Bridge’s smooth shooting did the damage in the opening period it was the inside work of Tuck that broke the match open for Sharks in the second quarter.
The Canadian scored nine points and pulled down some big rebounds to keep the Jets under pressure.
American guard Micah Williams began a 13-0 run for Sheffield with five points as Sharks made it 43-20.
And with youngsters Zach Gachette and Colin Sing running the floor well in transition Sheffield ended the half with a comfortable 49-26 advantage.
Point guard Gage Daye seemed intent on putting the match to bed with seven points early in the third quarter which put Sharks 61-35 ahead. However, Sheffield couldn’t totally shake off the Jets and an 8-2 run to end the period, with six points Kenny Moore brought the visitors back to 65-42.
Daye took care of any brief Jets runs in the final quarter with some decisive play as Sharks ran out comfortable winners. They travel to Surrey Heat tomorrow in the Championship.
n SHARKS: Daye 19, Tuck 16, Bridge 13, Babalola 12, Gachette 10, Williams 9, Sing 8, Brownell 3.