New Year, same aims. That’s the mantra coming out of the DBL Sharks Sheffield as 2017 closed in low key fashion.
The festive period ended with defeat at the hands of second-placed Newcastle Eagles but the feeling in camp is that this Sharks unit is a still a challenger for silverware.
Sharks were more than a match for the prolific Eagles for three quarters; it was a third-quarter lapse that cost them a chance to edge closer to the title hopefuls.
Sharks went toe to toe with Newcastle in the first half, going into the locker room with a 41-37 lead. An inexplicable 6-26 third period cost them dearly and despite being 18 points down at one point, they fought back but just ran out of time at 77-81. Clearly, it wasn’t the ideal way to finish 2017 as Captain Mike Tuck explained.
“No, not the result we wanted. We started out that game really strong. I thought we gave ourselves a really good chance and we just didn’t show up in the third quarter.
“The third quarter was everything. We were up by four or five going into the half and then they had everybody knocking down shots. Everything was going their way – a big momentum shift and we just couldn’t get it going. We have to watch the tape and learn from it and come back stronger.”
The loss sees Sharks fall to fourth in the BBL table with a 7-4 record but with games in hand on the teams above them. The chance to progress begins on Sunday with a visit to the Copperbox Arena in London to take on the Lions and it is one that Tuck is relishing.
“I always enjoy playing at the Copperbox. I was down there last week commentating on a game so I’ve seen them play recently. They’ve just added Cory Dixon to the roster and he’s a decent big man for them who adds a lot to their team. We are going to have to scout them up and do our research on them.”
Despite the Newcastle setback, confidence is still high in camp and Tuck retains a huge sense of belief in his team-mates.
“I still think we are a silverware team this year. We have all the pieces. The management have done a great job of bringing us all together. We’ve hit a few speed bumps on the way. At the end of the day, we’re still up at the top of the table and everyone has just got to stick behind us because we will get there.”
Sharks next home fixture is on Friday, January 12 when Surrey Scorchers visit the EIS for a 7.30pm tip-off.