Thursday 25th April 2019
DBL Sharks Sheffield 104 Newcastle Eagles 86
The Sharks booked their place in the benecos BBL playoffs with a stat-busting win over third-placed Newcastle Eagles. The win confirmed a first 3-0 sweep over the Eagles since 2002-03 with the most points that the Tynesiders have conceded in a half this season. And of course, the Sharks now head to the quarter finals for the 25th consecutive season on the back of Dirk Williams’ 40 point haul that in itself was the second highest points total by a Sharks player ever!
Sharks: McKnight, Marsden, Alexander, Williams, Martin
Eagles: Flournoy, Lasker, Williams J, Matthew, Fletcher
The Sharks flew out of the traps with a 33 point first quarter. Mathew Martin’s three out of the corner that wiped its feet before dropping through the hoop saw the Sharks steal a break at 12-6. Rob Marsden crashed the boards with determined regularity, feeding Williams at 18-11 and then assisting to Martin at 20-13. The Dirk Williams show ended the first quarter; a block on Matthew was followed by back to back treys and a further jump shot saw the Sharks 33-15 to the good. Kyle Williams kept Newcastle in touch as the period ended at 33-22.
Newcastle fought back at the top of the second on an 8-0 run. Williams and Alexander kept the three-fest going, taking the Sharks out to 45-32 and Marsden kept the scintillating offence to the fore with a weave to the hoop at 47-34. The Eagles too played their part in an eye-catching display and Eddie Matthew’s triple at 52-47 threatened to send momentum their way. That man Williams had other ideas however, going coast to coast to wrap up the first half at 59-49.
After seven Matthew points, the Sharks set about adding to their lead during the opening to the third stanza. Marsden extended the advantage to 14 with a highlight move at 70-56 and Mathew Martin hit back to back scores to show why he has become such a key player as the score advanced to 82-65. Dirk Williams seventh triple of the night ended the quarter with the Sharks in command by 85-68.
Lasker, Kyle Williams, Fletcher and Kai Williams saw Newcastle come uncomfortably close at 85-76. Fletcher showed his two-time MVP credentials with an and one play and a further three took the score to 89-82. Dirk Williams’ 24th point from beyond the arc saw the Eagles calling for time at 94-82 and Marsden, Martin and McKnight added eight more to put the game beyond reach at 102-82. The Sharks got the luxury of emptying the bench as Newcastle made consolation scores but the final 104-86 scoreline was proof that the home side had made the playoffs and next season’s All Star competition in some style.
32 well-spread assists showed the depth of the team performance. Three individual displays in particular caught the eye however. Mathew Martin showed how he has grown as the season has worn on with a fine 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. The trojan Rob Marsden was determined to drag his side into post season and his 20 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists was no less than he deserved for a quality performance. The Doncastrian shared the honours on the night with a superlative display from Dirk Williams. The UAB grad was mesmeric on his way to 40 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, making eight shots from downtown and racking up a huge index of 49. Only Ryan Patton has bettered Williams individual performance in a Sharks jersey, which underlined his worth to Atiba Lyons side as the benecos Playoffs await.
Mackey McKnight spoke of the playoffs coming early to Sheffield in a make-or-break performance that saw post-season basketball arrive in South Yorkshire for a 25th consecutive season.
Next home game
benecos BBL playoffs quarter final – See Sharks social media for details from Monday 29th April onwards