Friday 12th March 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 74 Worcester Wolves 75
There was heartbreak for the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, going down by a single point to the in-form Worcester Wolves after a herculean effort saw them almost take the game at the death. An off-balance three point shot late in the shot clock from Jordan Ratinho put the Sharks ahead by 74-73 with 6.5 seconds remaining. Lamarr Kimble restored Worcester’s lead with 2.2 to play as Bennett Koch was unable to get the score needed on the final play of a pulsating encounter.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Lillard, Lewis.
Wolves: Kimble, Parks Jr, Bouwknecht, Williams, Anderson.
The Sharks were without the services of the prolific Jeremy Hemsley through injury but made up for his absence with good energy in the first quarter. Mike Tuck’s putback opened the scoring and Bennett Koch slammed home one handed as the home side took a 6-3 lead. Koch repeated the feat at 10-8 but Wolves skipper Maarten Bouwknecht drained the first of three 3 point scores as Worcester went up by 12-15. An innocuous foul called on Nicholas Lewis saw Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons pick up a technical foul and it took a trip to the line for Koch to see the Sharks behind by two at 15-17.
Josh McSwiggan bookended a 3-10 run for Worcester either side of the quarter but two Ratinho triples saw the Sharks still very much in contention at 29-30. A 0-11 run to half time put Worcester back in command. Five points from Bouwknecht, four from Mike Parks Jr and a Jordan Williams bucket saw them take a 29-41 lead but a pair of Ratinho free throws reduced the arrears by two at half time.
Elijah Burns gave the Wolves their biggest lead of the game on an and one play at 34-46 early in the third period but that sparked an astonishing 14-2 run in favour of the Sharks. A Nicholas Lewis fake and three started the fightback and Worcester desperately required a timeout once Antwon Lillard made a steal and basket to tie matters at 48-48. The Sharks took the quarter by 23-18 but a Kimble trey saw the Wolves marginally in front by 54-59 after half an hour of play.
The Sharks showed their resolve early in the fourth; Lewis connected on one of his trademark court logo shots and when Johde Campbell restored the Sharks lead from the corner at 62-60, it looked like momentum would swing their way. However, Wolves guard Lamarr Kimble went back to back from downtown and it took a Kipper Nichols three to keep matters close at 67-68. Bouwknecht hit his final triple at 69-73 but a Koch dunk and an incredibly difficult off-balance trey from Jordan Ratinho saw the Sharks back ahead at 74-73 with just 6.5 seconds to play. Out of the timeout, Kimble, who grew visibly as the game wore on, hit the jump shot that gave the visitors a 74-75 lead. Coach Lyons drew up a final play with 2.2 seconds to go but Bennett Koch was unable to find the basket that would have given the Sharks a remarkable against-all-odds win.
Given that they were missing the regular points of Jeremy Hemsley, it was a valiant effort from the Sharks, especially against the in-form Wolves. Antwon Lillard made some big plays, filling up the line once more with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Nicholas Lewis pulled the strings for 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and there was another display of controlled aggression from Bennett Koch. He weighed in with 15 points, 7 rebounds, an assist and a steal as well as almost making the final shot that would have secured a tough win for his team. Making up for Hemsley’s absence however was the eventual MVP Jordan Ratinho. He compiled 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting including 4 of 6 from downtown. And there was much to admire in the three point score that pushed his side to the brink of victory but sadly wasn’t to be.
Post Game Interview
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Bristol Flyers, Sunday 14th March 2021, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 3pm Tip Off.