Sunday 13th December 2020
BBL Championship
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 87 Bristol Flyers 62

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks rounded off their 2020 home fixtures with a superlative win against a Bristol side that had crushed Glasgow by 96-54 the previous evening. The Sharks set off at high tempo with some highlight reel dunks and never really took their foot off the gas until the win was sealed. There were show-stopping performances from Antwon Lillard and Kipper Nichols but recent signing Jeremy Hemsley again filled up the statline for MVP honours.

Starting Fives

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

Flyers: Edozie, Copeland, Thomas-Edwards, Lockett, Delpeche.

Key Moments

The portents were good in the opening stages as Antwon Lillard’s spin and thunderous dunk gave the Sharks the ideal start. Kipper Nichols followed suit thirty seconds later and it was no wonder the baskets at Ponds Forge soon needed some re-alignment! Nicholas Lewis nailed three free throw shots to signal a big Sharks run of 12-2 that ended with a score from Jeremy Hemsley at 21-10. Rob Marsden came up with a couple of veteran plays and a Lillard bucket following up his own initial attempt concluded a very satisfactory quarter at 27-16.

A big Mike Tuck trey took that out to a thirteen point lead at 32-19 at the beginning of the second period and that became 36-21 on Lillard’s windmill dunk that saw Bristol scrambling for a timeout. The dunkfest became a three-fest as the quarter wore on. Johde Campbell connected at 47-25, followed by Hemsley out of the corner with two minutes remaining. Josh Rogers replied in similar fashion for the Flyers but a Lewis step away three in the final second saw the Sharks very satisfied with a half time score of 55-30.

Bristol came out with renewed vigour in the third stanza. Raphell Thomas-Edwards opened with an ‘and one’ and added four more points as the south-west side attempted to claw back the deficit. Lillard hit a triple late in the clock at 62-41 to put a check on matters and Johde Campbell drained one from the top of the key at 69-45. GB’s Ben Mockford hit his only points of the game from downtown to see Bristol take the quarter by 14-20 but at 69-50, the Sharks were still truly in command.

The Sharks managed the final period out to a comfortable win. Hemsley, growing into his role at the point, dished off for Kipper Nichols to score at 74-52 and picked the Flyers pocket shortly after for his own basket. Bennett Koch turned provider for Hemsley with a terrific assist down main street and a Lillard trey effectively sealed matters at 85-58. Bristol’s Thomas-Edwards capped his double-double with the final basket of the encounter but it was the Sharks who were extremely pleased with the closing scoreline of 87-62.

MVP

It was a very efficient night’s work for Atiba Lyons’ men. Rob Marsden showed all his veteran wiles with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists to kick start the rout. Having a ‘dunk-off’ were Kipper Nichols and Antwon Lillard. Nichols shot seven of eleven from the field for a very productive 17 points and his two dunks were matched by Lillard, who poured in 19 points with 6 rebounds for an index of 23. The MVP award went the way of Jeremy Hemsley however. Relishing his role as the heartbeat of the side, he filled the statlines for 18 points, a Sharks career best 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals – signs that the former San Diego State man is fully assimilated into this team.

Post-Game Interview
Next game

Glasgow Rocks v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 20th December 2020, Emirates Arena, 5pm Tip Off.

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Adam Bates