The DBL Sharks Sheffield fell to an agonising 78-81 defeat to Surrey Scorchers on the opening night of the 2017/18 British Basketball League season.
Having made a raft of summer signings the Sharks showed glimpses of what fans can expect this season but an impressive third quarter from the visitors - coupled with several Sharks errors ultimately gave Surrey a narrow win.
The Sharks made an impressive 4-0 start courtesy of new signings Robert Marsden and Chris Alexander, before Surrey hit back to level.
It didn’t take long for Mackey McKnight to get into the game - he provided consecutive assists for Tony Wroblicky and summer recruit Dirk Williams to edge the Sharks clear. However neither side could stretch out a commanding lead in a first quarter which ended 19-17 after a late Robert Marsden lay-up.
It was much of the same in the second, with neither side putting together a significant scoring run and the lead changing hands countless times. Chris Alexander shone on the offense in his first competitive outing for the Sharks as a last-gasp basket from Zach Gachette ensured the Sharks went in level at 42-42.
A 13-2 spell for Surrey early in the third quarter split the game and left the Sharks clinging on somewhat - all of a sudden the home side were on the back foot.
The Surrey surge continued into the fourth, taking them 12 points clear, but this time the Sharks hit back. A superb alley-oop from Dirk Williams, assisted by Gachette, certainly caused a stir in the crowd and the Sharks responded, with six quickfire points from Tuck plus scores from Gachette, Marsden and Williams bringing the Sharks to within three points of forcing overtime. However Surrey clung on for a narrow road win on the opening night of the 2017/18 season.
DBL Sharks Sheffield captain Mike Tuck: “We wanted to come out, first game of the season, and give our fans a win - but the ball didn’t drop our way tonight.
“It was a tough loss, only three points - but it’s very early doors. We’ve changed half the team over the summer but the longer we play together, the more we’re going to gel and the better we’re going to get.”
Sharks scorers: Alexander 22, Gachette 14, Marsden 11, Wroblicky 10, Williams 10, Tuck 9, McKnight 2.