Sunday 18th April 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 91 Worcester Wolves 88 (2OT)
You want free basketball? Then the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks are the team to watch! Down by twelve at the start of the fourth quarter, Kipper Nichols’ three pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining sent the game to overtime. And after a back and forth ten minutes of overtime, an Antwon Lillard dagger three right on the buzzer gave the Sharks their second additional time success of a tiring weekend.
Sharks: Ratinho, Lillard, Tuck, Nichols, Hemsley.
Wolves: Kimble, Parks Jr, Bouwknecht, McSwiggan, Williams.
Worcester came to Ponds Forge clearly fired up, having just two games left to seal a playoff berth. They suffered the loss of Mike Parks Jr just 84 seconds into the game through injury and when Lillard shot the Sharks into a 9-4 lead, things started to look bleak for the visitors. However, they traded triples with the Sharks to make it 12-12 and a pair of Maarten Bouwknecht free throws saw them tie the first quarter at 20-20.
Worcester went on to take the next two quarters. Henry Wilkins three opened the second period as a cagey affair played out to see the Wolves with a 31-34 half time lead. The third stanza was remarkably similar – Worcester opened on a 2-8 run and went on to take the quarter by 12-14 and claim a 43-48 lead overall.
Matt Newby’s side looked to be in full command as a pair of Jordan Williams buckets as well as Lamarr Kimble’s corner three saw the Sharks calling for time, down by twelve points at 43-55. The comeback was remarkable. Bennett Koch spun his way to an ‘and one’ play before Nicholas Lewis went to work. Lewis poured in ten straight points, going on to 14 in the quarter as a 10-2 run put the Sharks right back in contention at 60-62. The Sharks entered the bonus with 22 seconds remaining and the score at 64-68 and were successful in stopping the clock to send Worcester to the line. The pressure told on Tola Okiki, who could only convert one of his free throws to leave the score at 66-69. Kipper Nichols picked an opportune moment to convert his first points of the game from beyond the arc to send the game to overtime at 69-69 with just 2.7 seconds left on the clock.
It took two minutes before Worcester’s Jordan Williams muscled his way to the hoop in the first additional five minutes. Lillard hit back to back threes and with 14.5 seconds to go, it was Kimble who had free throw jitters to go one of two with the score at 78-80. Nichols’ layup ensured a further five minutes of play with the score at 80-80. Mike Tuck’s corner trey saw him past 4200 BBL league points and the Sharks into an 85-82 lead. The Wolves fought back to tie the game twice through Elijah Burns and Bouwknecht with the score at 88-88 and 28 seconds left to play. Worcester had a golden chance to clinch matters – Kimble missing both attempts from the charity stripe with 8 seconds left. The drama wasn’t finished as Antwon Lillard gave up a two point effort in favour of a shot from beyond the arc right on the buzzer that went all string to give the Sharks an outstanding 91-88 triumph.
Nicholas Lewis inspired the Sharks fightback with 14 fourth quarter points, including a remarkable ten in a row midway through the final period. It was another milestone evening for popular skipper Mike Tuck. He produced his seasons-best stats of 14 points, 8 rebounds and an assist to go through the 4200 BBL league points barrier. The MVP award went the way of the buzzer-beating Antwon Lillard. He poured in 20 points to go with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal as well as that astonishing final three that sent the Sharks bench and those fortunate enough to see it in the arena into raptures.
Post Game Interview
Surrey Scorchers v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Friday 23rd April 2021, Surrey Sports Park, 6pm Tip Off.