BBL Championship

Wednesday 3rd April – DBL Sharks Sheffield v Glasgow Rocks

Friday 5th April – DBL Sharks Sheffield v Plymouth Raiders

A double helping of Sharks basketball to come this week as the hunt for playoff places continues. The in-form Glasgow Rocks visit the EIS on Wednesday evening, looking to continue the form that has seen them rise up the BBL standings in recent weeks. Then, on Friday, Paul James’ Plymouth Raiders come to town for a head to head deciding match-up that could prove crucial in the end of season scramble for positions.

What to expect – Glasgow Rocks

The Rocks began their resurgence under Darryl Wood with wins over Cheshire and Bristol but dispensed with his services and employed Vincent Lavandier, who has gone on to enjoy similar success. It is perhaps no coincidence that the Rocks fortunes improved with the signing of Tadas Rinkunas, who adds 12.7 points per game from a variety of positions on the floor and he has gelled well with the likes of Bouna Ndiaye (12.4ppg), who has led the Rocks offensive effort all season. Great Britain trio of Gareth Murray, Ally Fraser and the soon to retire Kieron Achara are the bedrock of the Glasgow side and Achara’s imminent retirement may be the spur they need to see off his stellar career with a bang. The Sharks already hold the head to head over the Rocks with wins by 99-87 and 94-85 already this season but the scramble for positions should mean a much closer affair this time round.

What to expect – Plymouth Raiders

The head to head is still to be settled between the Sharks and the Raiders following the Sharks 66-57 road win down in Devon and Plymouth’s 66-83 success at the EIS at the end of January. That the Raiders are also one of the sides looking to lock down a top eight berth makes this a mouth-watering prospect. Donte Nicholas has been spoken of in MVP terms this season for his all-round game which currently produces 17.4 ppg, 9 rpg and 7.6 apg and with volume scorer Rashad Hassan (20.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg), they form a huge threat. Josh Wilcher is also adding 17 ppg from the point in addition to 6.9 assists and the Raiders have a backup cast that produce in Coach James’ inimitable style, well-known from his days as Worcester playcaller of course. A great deal could rest on the outcome of this game so a humdinger is on the cards.

Shark Watch

The Sharks were back in the Tank with a bang last Friday, taking down Bristol Flyers by 86-66. An explosive start saw Atiba Lyons men up by as many as 31 points late in the second quarter and they never looked back. Dirk Williams went scoreless in the first quarter, doing a superlative defensive job on Flyers dangerman Fred Thomas, but still claimed the MVP award for his overall 22 points. Every suited Shark made the scoresheet, summing up the team nature of the performance and with the playoff picture not clearing after the weekend, similar displays will be needed to secure that all-important post season berth.

Last time out

Glasgow Rocks (Ndiaye 21 Fraser 19 Murray 17) 85 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Tuck 24 Alexander 24 Williams 19) 94

DBL Sharks Sheffield (Williams 22 Alexander 10 Marsden 10) 66 Plymouth Raiders (Hassan 18 Jarvelainen 17 Wilcher 16) 83

Fans Corner

Just four games remain at the EIS in regular season and they all grip the imagination. A big week begins for the Sharks on Wednesday with the visit of Glasgow followed by an equally intriguing match against Plymouth just 48 hours later. Atiba and the guys need you there loud and proud as we look to keep up our playoff record. You were amazing against Bristol – can we have a repeat against Glasgow and Plymouth please?!! Take a break from the chocolate and give yourselves an Easter treat down at the EIS. It’s sure to be egg-citing!

Next home game

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Kieran Kenney