Cheshire take close home court win in Semi Final Game One

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
May 10, 202411:00 PM

Friday 10th May 2024

British Basketball League Playoff Semi Final – Game One

Cheshire Phoenix 89 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 83

It was as predictably close and tense as you’d expect but it was Cheshire Phoenix who took a home court six point win in Game One of the Playoff Semi-Finals. As little as three points separated the sides early in the fourth quarter but behind a 20 point, 9 rebound performance from ‘Nix talisman Aaryn Rai, it was Cheshire who came up with the 89-83 victory. Twenty points from Prentiss Nixon and a 100% shooting night from RJ Eytle-Rock, who finished with 19, buoyed the Sharks on but they must now win at the Canon Medical Arena on Sunday to keep their hopes of reaching the showpiece final alive.

Starting Fives

Phoenix: Rideau, Jack, Rai, Chargois, White.

Sharks: Ramsey, Eytle-Rock, Ratinho, Green, Delpeche.

Key Moments

Three triples from the free-scoring Phoenix took them out to an early 13-7 lead. Baskets from RJ Eytle-Rock, Marcus Delpeche and a big Devearl Ramsey trey shot the Sharks into a 13-14 lead by the mid-quarter timeout. Cheshire’s Cam Christon came up with 7 points that restored their lead but a game Sharks effort saw them level the quarter at 22-22 through a Prentiss Nixon bucket.

The ‘Nix opened up a ten point lead by half time. Their willingness to shoot the three paid dividends as EJ Stephens, Laquincy Rideau, Ethan Chargois (x2) and Skyler White opened up a 40-29 gap. ‘Playoff’ Prentiss Nixon had other ideas with a three over Aaryn Rai but the self-styled ‘point forward’ went on to lay in 6 points as the score became 46-36. Malek Green laid in with his left hand but a Cam Holden score sent the home side in at half time with a 48-38 advantage.

A 14-19 third period in the Sharks favour showed all their typical fight and determination. After Rai extended the lead to 14, a Nixon jumpshot began the fightback. Marcus Delpeche, Jordan Ratinho and Kipper Nichols followed suit and when Nixon connected on a stepback three, the score had narrowed to 54-50. Marcus Delpeche’s dunk on the fastbreak turned that into 58-55 and after Rai’s no look and-one play, it was left to Nixon to keep the Sharks in touch at 62-57.

Nixon’s fine run of form continued when he drew the Sharks to within three at 66-63. The next run was Cheshire’s however as Rai opened up a 14 point gap at 81-67. The hosts hit foul trouble with three and a half minutes to play – RJ Eytle-Rock profiting with a series of successful trips to the line. The Sharks also hit the penalty with a minute to go. Eytle-Rock finished Delpeche’s assist at 86-81 but as the time dipped under twenty seconds, the Sharks were forced to foul to stop the clock. White and Rai made it a three possession game and despite Eytle-Rock making his tenth successful free throw, it was Cheshire who claimed the 89-83 win.


Marcus Delpeche finished just short of a double-double with 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and the Sharks were positive 15 in his presence. Prentiss Nixon showed all his passion and fondness for the playoffs with another sharpshooting 20 point, 7 rebound and 1 assist outing. The MVP however finished with a perfect 100% shooting night. RJ Eytle-Rock ended with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and made all ten of his shots from the charity stripe but was unable to prevent Cheshire taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Next game

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Cheshire Phoenix, Sunday 12th May 2024, Canon Medical Arena, 4.35pm tip off.


Adam Bates