Friday 15th January 2021
BBL Championship
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 84 Newcastle Eagles 92

A spirited late fightback wasn’t enough for the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks to overturn the Newcastle Eagles in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Lapses late in quarters saw the Sharks down by as many as 21 points at one stage. A 33-20 final quarter proved a step too far as second-placed Newcastle held out for the eight point win as the Sharks move to a 4-3 record. A visit to Glasgow awaits Atiba Lyons’ men on Sunday.

Starting Fives

Sharks: Lewis, Lillard, Koch, Nichols, Hemsley.

Eagles: Pflueger, Maxwell, Edwards, Gordon, Fletcher.

Key Moments

Rahmon Fletcher saw Newcastle out to an early 1-6 lead but four points from Bennett Koch and scores from Kipper Nichols and Jeremy Hemsley saw the Sharks overturn that at 9-8. There was little between the two sides for the remainder of the quarter; Fletcher levelled things up with a trey from the top of the key at 11-11, Mike Tuck replying in kind for the Sharks at 16-11 after some exquisite ball movement. Eagles’ Cortez Edwards ‘and one’ score made it 18-18 and his triple inside the final two seconds saw the visitors take a 20-21 opening quarter lead.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern for the most part. Johde Campbell came up big from downtown with the score at 29-27 and Hemsley danced his way to hoop to level scores once again at 35-35. The final two minutes of the quarter proved to be the Sharks undoing. Rex Pflueger, Darius Defoe and Justin Gordon with the two handed flush made it 37-45 to be followed up by Pflueger on the alleyoop and Fletcher on the fast break as a 0-10 run to half time left the score at 37-49.

The Sharks didn’t let the deficit grow in the early part of the third period, underlined by Hemsley’s trey at 46-58 midway through. However, a 1-10 finish to the stanza engineered by seven Edwards points and a Louis Sayers corner three saw Newcastle take charge by 21 points at 51-72.

Another Sayers corner ball seemed to inspire the Sharks. Triples from Nicholas Lewis and Nichols capped a 14-3 Sharks revival and Hemsley eurostepped the Sharks inside ten points at 67-77. Gordon held his nerve as Coach Lyons called for time at 69-86 and out of this, Jordan Ratinho and Lewis hit big triples as the deficit came down at 80-89. A series of trips to the line concluded the game. The Sharks stopped the clock as Eagles veteran Drew Lasker made two from his four trips. Lewis connected on two of his three free throws at 82-90 but Eddie Matthew and Shore Adenekan saw the game out to an 84-92 victory for the North Easterners.

MVP

Regular Sky Sports analyst Mike Tuck impressed on court in front of the cameras this time, using his veteran wiles to glean 13 points on four of six shooting with 2 rebounds to boot. Matching that was fellow native Canadian Nicholas Lewis, who impressed particularly down the stretch with 13 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, a steal and a block. Taking the MVP award and looking the Sharks most potent scoring threat as usual was Jeremy Hemsley. He racked up another regulation 20 point haul, pulling down 3 rebounds, dishing out 5 assists and nicking a solitary steal. The Sharks final quarter was impressive but it was the defensive lapses at the end of all three preceding quarters that left them pondering what might have been.

Post Game Interview

To follow

Next game

Glasgow Rocks v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 17th January 2021, Emirates Arena, 3.30pm Tip Off.

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Adam Bates