Sheffield Sharks overcame a sloppy performance to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and book their place in the last four of the BBL Trophy with a victory last night of Mersey Tigers at the EIS.
But they needed overtime to get past a team they had beaten by 40 points a week ago.
The Tigers have improved since then as their hastily put together squad has begun to gel. It still didn’t explain Sheffield’s lethargy as they allowed the visitors to control the majority of the match.
A 12-0 run had seemingly set Sharks on the road to a comfortable win but Mersey came storming back to tie the game at 16-16 before Sheffield took the first quarter 19-16.
By midway through the second quarter the Tigers had established an eight point lead (21-29) as Kris Douse, Devan Bailey and Miles Hesson impressed. Sheffield, through Justin Dobbins, brought it back to 39-43 at half time and a 9-0 run towards the end of the third quarter gave them a 55-54 lead.
Tigers had the last say to a take a 56-57 advantage into the final quarter. And when Mersey moved 62-72 clear with four minutes to play the Sharks looked beaten.
However, Dobbins started a 10-0 burst, which Mike Tuck ended with two free throws to tie the match at 72-72. In overtime Sheffield made hard work of putting the Tigers away as Tuck and Dobbins both missed free throws.
The win was sealed by a brilliant Nate Reinking pass to Jimmy Langhurst for the point guard to lay the ball home.