Sunday 28th February 2021
BBL Championship
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 83 London Lions 72

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks capped six wins from eight in the month of February with a statement victory over the highly-fancied London Lions. The Sharks hadn’t won a league encounter against the Lions since 27th October 2017 but broke a streak of seven losses on the bounce in the most emphatic fashion. Jeremy Hemsley led the way with another twenty point plus haul but a 56% shooting effort was just one of the keys to a second win over the weekend.

Starting Fives

Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Lillard, Hemsley.

Lions: Parker, Robinson, Williams, Alihodzic, Liggins.

Key Moments

The Sharks shot nine of seventeen attempts from three point territory on the night, opening with Jeremy Hemsley inside the first minute. The formidable London line-up fought back strongly through through former team-mate of Lebron James, Deandre Liggins who hit two three pointers on his own to put the Lions up by 7-13. A 10-2 run for the Sharks concluded on a Hemsley lay up and there would be nothing to separate the sides at the quarter end; Justin Robinson’s triple ending proceedings at 22-22.

Both sides traded big shots at the top of the second period, Lillard and Hemsley connecting from downtown in reply to London’s Orlando Parker. A big two from Rob Marsden saw the Sharks take a 32-28 lead and another huge shot from Nicholas Lewis saw the advantage maintained at 39-35. That lead was extended into the half time break – Bennett Koch’s hook shot and Lewis’ lay in on the buzzer saw Atiba Lyons’ men comfortable with a 44-36 scoreline.

The pace was relentless in the third stanza. GB international Fahro Alihodzic (4) and Liggins (3) pulled London to within three before Antwon Lillard hit six points in a row with the score at 52-43. Another GB international, Justin Robinson poured in ten consecutive points of his own as the Lions restored parity at 55-55. Koch, Ratinho and another huge trey from Lewis saw the Sharks go into the final quarter with a 62-57 advantage.

The Sharks were in irresistible form during that final ten minutes. Lillard opened with a corner three and when veteran skipper Mike Tuck nailed another from the top of the key, a ten point difference opened up at 71-61. That became fifteen on a Nicholas Lewis dagger triple and London entered the penalty with a minute to play. A series of huge defensive plays down the stretch confirmed the Sharks win. The former Cleveland Cavalier Liggins hit a three with the score at 82-72 but a big block on the ex-NBA man from Sharks’ Kipper Nichols summed up the afternoon as the Sharks claimed an outstanding 83-72 triumph.  

MVP

Once again, it was very much a team effort from the Sharks, built on a bedrock of solid defence allied with spectacular shooting. Carrying on from Friday evening was Bennett Koch. His 11 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists came with an index of 19 and the Sharks were plus twenty while he was on the court. Contributing 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals was Nicholas Lewis. Two outrageously big threes came during a four of six shooting effort that sparked the Sharks at key moments. Antwon Lillard took matters into his own hands at the beginning of the third quarter to finish with another useful 18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. The MVP went the way of Jeremy Hemsley however. His 23 points were a joy to behold as ever, one floated effort over two sizeable London defenders being one such memorable score of note.

Post Game Interview
Next game

Worcester Wolves v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Wednesday 3rd March 2021, University of Worcester Arena, 7pm Tip Off.

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Adam Bates