Wednesday 3rd March 2021
Worcester Wolves 88 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72
It was a night to forget for the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks as they moved to 10-8 for the season with defeat on the road at Worcester Wolves. The home side ran up 57 points by half time as the Sharks usual defensive solidity went astray. The Sharks now share fourth place with Plymouth Raiders and must pick themselves up for a visit to Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday.
Wolves: Kimble, Parks Jr, Bouwknecht, Williams, Elan.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Lillard, Hemsley.
Despite a relatively sedate early pace, the Sharks took the lead at 6-11 on the back of a Jeremy Hemsley trey and the same player assisting to Antwon Lillard to convert. Mike Parks Jr restored Worcester’s lead at 14-13 before Kipper Nichols connected from downtown to put the Sharks back in front. Wolves skipper Maarten Bouwknecht ‘and one’ play kick started the Midlanders into the lead and six further points from Brandon Anderson saw them claim a 27-19 first quarter advantage.
Worcester pushed home that lead with a 12-0 run that straddled the quarters. It took nearly three minutes before the Sharks replied through Bennett Koch as a Bouwknecht corner triple saw the Sharks into a timeout at 42-25. Hemsley scored from deep but Lillard’s third foul put the Sharks on the back foot as another Bouwknecht three and a Lamarr Kimble basket saw the Wolves cap a 30-20 quarter to go in at halftime by 57-39.
The Sharks tried to go back to basics in a low scoring third quarter but couldn’t make inroads into the Worcester lead. Bouwknecht’s third triple saw their lead out to twenty at 65-45 but Lillard’s fourth foul and Anderson’s closing bucket left the Sharks a mountain to climb with the score at 71-49. Kimble drained a three late in the shot clock to open the final quarter and frustrations boiled over as Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons left the game following a double technical. Assistant Marko Backovic took over playcalling duties and saw a reaction from his players as Nicholas Lewis claimed a triple at 78-52. However, Lillard went the same way as his Coach with six minutes to play; Micah Elan taking the lead out to 28 at 88-60 from beyond the arc. The Sharks ran in the final 12 points of the contest as Worcester took their foot off the pedal, Hemsley (and one) and Kipper Nichols (corner three) coming up with notable plays in vain as the game ended at 88-72 in favour of the home team.
One to forget for the Sharks but there were two performances of note. Another game night, another twenty points for Jeremy Hemsley, who also added 6 rebounds and a steal for good measure. A statline-filling night for Kipper Nichols saw him take the MVP award however. He poured in 15 points with 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 2 blocks to look the Sharks most consistent performer on the night.
Cheshire Phoenix v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 7th March 2021, Ellesmere Port Sports Village, 5pm Tip Off.