High drama as Sharks take enthralling win over Caledonia

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
April 12, 202412:30 AM

Friday 12th April 2024

British Basketball League Regular Season

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 69 Caledonia Gladiators 62

A night of high drama saw the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks take an enthralling 69-62 win over third-placed Caledonia Gladiators. Assistant Marko Backovic stepped up to full Coaching duties after the first quarter disqualification of Atiba Lyons and led his side to a hard-fought but fully deserved seven point victory. Jalon Pipkins topped the Sharks in scoring but contributions right across the roster secured success. The Sharks have outright hold on fourth place for now with two games left to play in regular season – the first of which is at the Canon Medical Arena on Sunday afternoon against Cheshire Phoenix.

Starting Fives

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

Gladiators: Green, Malcolm, Whelan, Moore Jr, Palyza.

Key Moments

The game began at high tempo with both teams needing wins to influence their respective playoff seedings. Bennett Koch’s basket at 6-7 kept the game close at the media timeout but a 0-5 mini-run in Caledonia’s favour saw the Sharks into a timeout. Coach Atiba Lyons, clearly unimpressed with the refereeing calls, picked up two technical fouls in quick succession and had to leave the arena. Assistant Marko Backovic picked up the reigns as a shellshocked Sharks struggled for form. A pair of Devearl Ramsey free throws closed the quarter but not before Caledonia had built up a reasonable 12-23 opening lead.

Backovic’s calming approach paid dividends at the start of the second quarter. The Sharks’ focus returned and a 12-0 run was the result. A corner three from Jalon Pipkins was a highlight of the streak as Ramsey sent the Sharks into the lead at 24-23. The Sharks’ Jordan Ratinho played some exemplary defence on Gladiators dangerman, Quade Green but the Scot’s guard momentarily broke free for six points towards the end of the half, steering his team to a 30-37 half time advantage.  

A fired-up Sharks side came out for the third period, torching their visitors to the tune of 24-10. Bennett Koch headed to the line on six occasions and when RJ Eytle-Rock eurostepped to the rim at 40-37, another 10-0 run had been made. Caledonia fought back through Lukas Palyza and GB guard Patrick Whelan but back-to-back baskets by Jalon Pipkins, the second reversed through the hoop, restored the lead at 44-42. Next came Prentiss Nixon and Marcus Delpeche but the exclamation mark on an electric ten minutes came when Kipper Nichols completed a three-plus-one play right on the buzzer with the score at 54-47.

The fourth quarter swung back and forth but it was the Sharks who toughed out a thrilling win. Malek Green extended the lead to 9 at 60-51 on Nichols’ assist but Caledonia were far from buried. The Gladiatorial Green nailed a key three pointer and with a further three being added by Mike Bothwell, the final fifty seconds rolled around with the scoreboard reading 64-62. Caledonia entered the bonus shortly after with Nixon and Ramsey making perfect trips to the charity stripe. An unsportsmanlike call late on in proceedings allowed Malek Green to make it a three possession game and with an even 15-15 final stanza, it was the Sharks who dribbled it out for a memorable 69-62 success.


The Sharks fought back from adversity to claim the paint by 40-26 and out-rebound Caledonia by 42-34. It was truly another team victory. Jordan Ratinho went pointless but the attention he paid to the Gladiators talisman Quade Green was clear for all to see. Marcus Delpeche continued his excellent form of recent weeks – the Sharks being positive 14 while ever he was court and there was also a positive 11 during Devearl Ramsey’s stint that gleaned 10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. Forwards Malek Green and Bennett Koch returned 9/10 and 10/7 respectively but the MVP honours went the way of Jalon Pipkins. His athleticism saw him to 14 points and 2 rebounds and he made 4 of his 5 shots inside the arc to steer his side to a dramatic and hard-fought victory.

Next game

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Cheshire Phoenix, Sunday April 14th 2024, Canon Medical Arena, 3.00pm Tip Off.


Adam Bates