Sunday 27th October 2019
BBL Cup North Group
Cheshire Phoenix 76 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks must wait another week to confirm their BBL Cup quarter final berth after being edged out in a thriller at Ellesmere Port Sports Village. The game could have gone either way right down to the final thirty seconds but it was the hometown ‘Nix who held their nerve to secure a closely contested win.
Phoenix: Sayers, Lufadeju, Mockford, Hayes, Jackson-Cartwright
Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, Marsden, McKnight, Koch
A committed first ten minutes played out. Hayes opening one handed dunk set the tone but it was the Sharks who took an early 4-5 lead on Mackey McKnight’s corner trey. Former GB guard Ben Mockford levelled matters at 12 each with the first of seven triples. Bennett Koch gave the Sharks a 13-17 advantage going into the final two minutes but further three’s from Mockford and Montell McRae saw Cheshire in front by 21-17 at the end of the quarter.
An equally tight second stanza followed. Cilo Latinovic saw the Sharks into a timeout at 24-19 but a drive into the paint from Connor Cashaw restored the Sharks lead at 24-25. Mockford again put the Nix ahead from downtown with the score at 29-25 but the busy Cashaw kept the Sharks in touch as the half ended at 31-29.
The third quarter was all about Nick Lewis. He poured in 19 points as both sides put up a thrilling period of basketball. An outrageously distant three from Lewis gave the Sharks a 48-52 lead but five points from Parker Jackson-Cartwright and a Louis Sayers bucket saw the Nix retain a 55-54 advantage going into the final ten minutes.
Sayers and that man Mockford gave Cheshire a six point lead at 67-61. Again the Sharks fought back; McKnight on the three ball reducing the deficit to one at 67-66. Just 32 seconds remained as Cashaw kept the Sharks in touch at 72-70. The Sharks used up all their fouls to stay with the Nix but a pair of free throws from Mockford, who finished with 29 points, and one from McCrae saw Cheshire to the win at 76-72.
The Sharks were a little off the pace in the first half after a bruising encounter on Friday against Newcastle, giving up 14 points from turnovers. Mackey McKnight attempted to influence proceedings in his ebullient way with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He had a relatively quiet first half but Nick Lewis shot the lights out in the third quarter on his way to 19 points with 4 assists on 50% shooting. However, continuing his growth and progress on the team, Connor Cashaw picked up the honours with an all-action double-double of 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists.
Coach Atiba Lyons praised Cheshire for a great game but pledged to keep setting high standards for his highly-motivated team.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Leicester Riders, Sunday 10th November 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 4.00pm Tip Off