Sharks had lost by just a single point on Friday night against Worcester Wolves but bounced back to take a valuable win.
Leading by eighteen at the end of the third quarter, it was the visiting Flyers who staged a remarkable comeback, pulling to within a single point with sixteen seconds remaining. However, Sharks MVP Kipper Nichols was ice-cold from the line to seal the win that sees the South Yorkshire outfit to an 11-9 record for the season.
Nichols set the tone for his best performance in a Sharks jersey with eight early points as the home side took an 8-5 lead. Flyers Australian point guard Josh Wilcher traded threes with Sharks’ Jordan Ratinho but another triple from GB guard Teddy Okereafor saw Bristol steal an advantage at 13-18. Bennett Koch levelled matters at 20-20 on an and one play and it took a Rob Marsden finish to conclude an entertaining first quarter at 25-24 in the Sharks favour.
The Sharks have struggled to assert their authority on second quarters this season but they were strong in claiming this one by 18-16. The returning Jeremy Hemsley hit a difficult three with Flyers’ Josh Rogers in his face at 30-24 to cap a 7-0 run and a Mike Tuck kiss off the glass saw them maintain the lead at 35-30.
Marcus Delpeche, Teddy Okereafor and Eric Lockett kept Bristol in touch and it wasn’t until Hemsley went coast to coast that the Sharks threatened to break the shackles at 41-34. However, Delpeche, who would go on to record a 27 point, 11 rebound double-double, narrowed the deficit to 43-40 at half time.
Atiba Lyons’ charges finally broke free in the third period. Nicholas Lewis drew the extra point to cap an 11-3 run as Bristol Called for time with the score at 54-43.
The Flyers only added two more points before their second timeout, Lewis’ assisting behind his back to Bennett Koch to make it 63-45. The Canadian / British guard ended a fine quarter personally and for his team with one of his trademark three pointers from the on-court logos to see the Sharks in front by 71-53 after thirty minutes play.
The expected blowout failed to materialise as Bristol staged a remarkable fightback in the final stanza. Flyers’ Justin Baker hit back to back shots from downtown and Delpeche jammed one in as the margin fell to seven at 76-69.
The Sharks stalled on offence, committing a backcourt violation as Bristol sensed an opportunity to capitalise. Okereafor assisted to Delpeche twice for alleyoops and when Lockett completed a second chance score, they were only a solitary point behind at 80-79. The Sharks chose to advance the ball from the resulting timeout and from the resulting fouls, Kipper Nichols drained two nerveless shots from the line to make it 82-79 with 10.5 seconds to go. Some tough defence from Antwon Lillard and MVP Nichols saw the Sharks hang on to claim a much-needed victory.