Why Sheffield Sharks lost their way in BBL play-off defeat to Glasgow Rocks

Sheffield Sharks coach Atiba Lyons bemoaned the absence of his two best players in Sunday’s play-off defeat to Glasgow Rocks.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 11:00 am

Sheffield had to make do without influential point guards Antwain Johnson and Rodney Glasgow Jr owing to injuries and crashed out at the quarter final stage for the second year running.

They led Rocks by seven points after winning Friday’s first leg 83-76, despite Glasgow Jr going off with a hamstring complaint, but were comfortably beaten 72-96 in the deciding fixture at Ponds Forge.

Lyons said: “We did a great job winning on the road in the first leg, losing a point guard (Glasgow Jr) so early in the game.

Sheffield Sharks crashed out of the BBL play-offs against Glasgow Rocks. Photo: Adam Bates.

"We knew, even just from a rotation standpoint with guys being tired and having their legs stretched against a team that’s high-octane – they score a lot of points – it’s not the best match-up to be missing two key scorers.”

Sheffield trailed their visitors for the entire second leg but a resurgence in the third quarter saw them regain the overall lead in the tie before Glasgow pulled away in the final period.

Lyons added: “The way we fought and gave ourselves a chance going into the fourth quarter, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of my team."

Johnson and Glasgow Jr had averaged 30 points per game between them this season, underlining their value to the team.

Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons. Photo: Adam Bates.

Joe Mvuezolo, Jordan Ratinho, Kipper Nichols and Devante Wallace all reached double figures in their absence.

But the Sharks, who finished second in the regular BBL season, let themselves down with poor defence.

"You can see where those guys would have stepped in and made a huge impact for us,” Lyons said of Johnson and Glasgow Jr.

"It goes without saying how much we missed them but hats off to whoever played tonight with Devante, Joe in particular, Kipper, they played their hearts out.

"It’s hard, you can’t mask over missing two pieces like that.”

Lyons said he will remember the 2021/22 cohort for their ‘resilience’ and added: “They are very, very coachable. When you coach players you like it becomes easier.

"This year, I liked everyone in the team. People assume that’s normal, but it’s not.”