Saturday 20th January 2024
British Basketball League Trophy
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 77 Plymouth City Patriots 73
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks toughed out a four point win over Plymouth City Patriots to get off the mark in the British Basketball League Trophy. Cheshire’s victory over Surrey in Guildford earlier in the day had prevented the Sharks further progression in the competition but a 19-8 final quarter steered the home side to a morale-boosting first victory in the 2024 tournament. New recruit Malek Green shone on debut with 17 points and 7 rebounds ahead of a Sunday visit to the Phoenix for the final group stage game.
Sharks: Ramsey, Pipkins, Ratinho, Nichols, Koch.
Patriots: Wiley, Green, Levi, Dusha, Hart.
Three close quarters of basketball saw very little between the two teams before the Sharks made their mark in the fourth. Six Jacob Wiley points were matched by the Sharks before Plymouth’s Tyrell Green went on a three point shooting mission. He made four successful attempts to edge the Pats ahead by 15-18. The Sharks were never very far away however and an RJ Eytle-Rock basket saw the first period close at 23-25.
Plymouth’s shooting continued to bring them great success in the second quarter. More triples from Will White, Jules Dang Akodo, Cameron Copeland and finally Joe Hart saw them take an 11 point lead at 30-41. A different Sharks came out after the media timeout. An and-one play from Jordan Ratinho kickstarted a fightback and a corner three from the same player began a 10-0 run to half time. New signing Malek Green proved he could shoot the three ball as well and when he backed down his man just before the break, there was little to choose between the teams at 44-45.
Bennett Koch turned the run to 12-0 after the interval but the cluster scoring of Wiley saw the Patriots into a six point lead with an alleyoop at 56-62. Copeland’s triple increased that to eight and despite a Prentiss Nixon bucket, a 15-20 quarter in the visitors favour saw them marginally in front by 59-65 after 30 minutes play.
The persistence and energy of Malek Green hauled the Sharks back into the game. Ten points gleaned by driving to the hoop levelled the encounter at 69-69 and that state of affairs continued as Bennett Koch made it 73-73. The game unravelled for Plymouth inside the final two minutes. Spencer Levi fouled out for the Devonians as a pair of Kipper Nichols free throws and a Jalon Pipkins fadeaway took the Sharks to a tough 77-73 victory.
Bennett Koch continued to shoulder the tough work in his leadership role to end with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. It was an excellent shooting night for Jordan Ratinho. He went 100% from the field to conclude with 16 points and a solitary rebound. Picking up the MVP award on debut was Malek Green. A little over 16 minutes court-time brought about a return of 17 points and 7 rebounds. The Sharks were plus 12 while ever he was on court and his index of 16 showed what an efficient night he had for the first time in blue and yellow.
Cheshire Phoenix v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday January 21st 2024, Cheshire Oaks Arena, 6.00pm Tip Off.