Friday 1st October 2021
BBL Cup Group Stage
Newcastle Eagles 82 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 85
The Vertu Motors Arena continued to be a happy hunting ground for the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks as they claimed their seventh win in ten visits there with an 82-85 success over the Newcastle Eagles. The Sharks moved to 2-1 in the North group on the back of a stellar 23 points from shooting guard Jonathan Williams.
Eagles: Person, Johnson, Vinson, Shelton, Fletcher.
Sharks: Anderson, Williams, Nichols, Ratinho, Delpeche.
Two time league MVP Rahmon Fletcher saw the hometown Eagles out to a 14-11 lead in the first quarter on a spin move but Jordan Ratinho’s corner three started the momentum in the Sharks favour. Marcus Delpeche made it 17-21 from the line but a Kyle Williams bucket saw the period close at 19-21.
A 0-10 run in the Sharks favour was key to them claiming a half time lead. Threes from Lucien Christofis and Jon-Jon Williams took the score out to 25-35 with Williams extending that lead to eleven at 38-49. Newcastle vet Darius Defoe reduced those arrears by one from the line but a 20-28 quarter and a half time 39-49 scoreline reflected a solid half of basketball for the Sharks.
It was always likely that the Eagles would rally in front of their partisan home following and Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons was forced to call for time as Fletcher made the ‘and one’ play to draw Newcastle closer at 57-61. The Sharks entered the penalty with fully three and a half minutes to play as the Tynesiders capitalised to close out the quarter at 64-65.
The Sharks scrappy third quarter finish translated over into the start of the fourth as Newcastle took a 69-65 lead through Defoe. Jon-Jon Williams continued his exemplary shooting night with the trey that restored the Sharks lead as a nervy final two minutes ensued. Delpeche finished a textbook pick and roll with Williams but Fletcher’s steal and score saw fingernails being bitten at 82-83. Newcastle’s game management unravelled down the stretch as unnecessary fouls eventually sent the Sharks Aaron Anderson to the charity stripe to close out a hard fought 82-85 win.
Despite being out-rebounded by 41 to 31, the Sharks showed great resilience to take a satisfying win. Doing a bit of everything were Aaron Anderson and Kipper Nichols. Anderson contributed 10 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assist and 4 steals as well as those two ice cold free throws to close out the win. Nichols continued his solid early season form with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Marcus Delpeche added 15 points and 6 rebounds to underline his consistency but a hot shooting night saw the MVP award go the way of Jon-Jon Williams. His 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists came on seven out of seven shooting from inside the arc and three from five from downtown to secure another northerly success.
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Manchester Giants, Friday 8th October 2021, Ponds Forge, 7.30pm Tip Off