Friday 9th April 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 88 Surrey Scorchers 59
Part one of the mission completed. The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks put down a big marker in their drive to confirm a playoff place with a huge win over the big-scoring Surrey Scorchers. A 24 point 10 rebound double-double from Antwon Lillard was key to the victory that sees the Sharks climb to sixth in the BBL table. A crucial Sunday evening encounter with Manchester, comeback winners in Newcastle by 91-95, now awaits Atiba Lyons’ men.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Lillard, Hemsley.
Scorchers: McLemore, Hicks, James, Cashaw, Ogedengbe.
It was Surrey who opened the brighter through Tony Hicks and Lacey James but a corner three from eventual MVP Antwon Lillard put the Sharks right back into the contest. Lillard put the Sharks in front at 7-4 late in the shot clock and some serious hang-time from Bennett Koch soon made that 10-8. The relentless Lillard capped a 10-4 run on the drive and another trey saw him to 13 personal with the score at 22-14. A pair of Hicks free throws ended the quarter but it was the Sharks who had opened up a ten point differential at 28-18.
The Sharks emphasis on defence continued into the second period as they held the normally free-scoring Scorchers to just seven points. Wake Forest commit Cameron Hildeth sidestepped his way to the opening bucket of the quarter but a big triple from Johde Campbell saw the Sharks stretch their lead out to 35-22. BBL returnee Hicks replied for Surrey but a 6-0 run to the end of the half underlined the Sheffield dominance. A thunderous two handed slam from Koch saw the Sharks decidedly content with a 44-25 scoreline after twenty minutes play.
With the hard work done on defence, the Sharks were able to pour in 22 points in each of the final two stanzas. Campbell hit his second three on the back of some neat ball movement at 50-27 and a 12-4 run concluded on a trademark Nicholas Lewis score from the on-court logos at 57-31. Lewis repeated the feat on the buzzer as the dominance continued at 66-38.
Surrey’s Hicks made ‘and one’ and three point scores early in the fourth but when Lillard converted his extra point at 75-46, the Sharks were able to give valuable minutes to their whole roster. Lewis hit his third trey at 80-53 and a scintillating alleyoop finish by Oscar Baldwin on Campbell’s assist took that out to 83-55. Lewis finished with 12 points on his final ‘logo’ triple and a Jordan Ratinho putback concluded a needed and thoroughly deserved 88-59 triumph.
The take-down of Surrey, a side that have surpassed ninety points three times in their last five games, owed much to great team defence. There were several notable performances from the backcourt. Nicholas Lewis hit all his points from downtown on limited minutes in a pleasing comeback to record 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Jordan Ratinho overcame foul trouble to end with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Jeremy Hemsley ended just shy of a double-double to finish with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. However, for his fourth double-double of the season, all completed on his home court, a mammoth statline of 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block saw the honours deservedly go the way of Antwon Lillard.
Post Game Interview
Manchester Giants v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 11th April 2021, National Basketball Performance Centre, 7pm Tip Off.