Sunday 14th March 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 82 Bristol Flyers 79
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks were involved in their second nailbiter of the weekend but this time the roll of the dice went their way as they claimed a three point victory. Leading by eighteen at the end of the third quarter, it was the visiting Flyers who staged a remarkable comeback, pulling to within a single point with sixteen seconds remaining. However, Sharks MVP Kipper Nichols was ice-cold from the line to seal the win that sees the South Yorkshire outfit to an 11-9 record for the season.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Koch, Hemsley.
Flyers: Wilcher, Okereafor, Lockett, Delpeche, Baker.
Nichols set the tone for his best performance in a Sharks jersey with eight early points as the home side took an 8-5 lead. Flyers Australian point guard Josh Wilcher traded threes with Sharks’ Jordan Ratinho but another triple from GB guard Teddy Okereafor saw Bristol steal an advantage at 13-18. Bennett Koch levelled matters at 20-20 on an and one play and it took a Rob Marsden finish to conclude an entertaining first quarter at 25-24 in the Sharks favour.
The Sharks have struggled to assert their authority on second quarters this season but they were strong in claiming this one by 18-16. The returning Jeremy Hemsley hit a difficult three with Flyers’ Josh Rogers in his face at 30-24 to cap a 7-0 run and a Mike Tuck kiss off the glass saw them maintain the lead at 35-30. Marcus Delpeche, Teddy Okereafor and Eric Lockett kept Bristol in touch and it wasn’t until Hemsley went coast to coast that the Sharks threatened to break the shackles at 41-34. However, Delpeche, who would go on to record a 27 point, 11 rebound double-double, narrowed the deficit to 43-40 at half time.
Atiba Lyons’ charges finally broke free in the third period. Nicholas Lewis drew the extra point to cap an 11-3 run as Bristol Called for time with the score at 54-43. The Flyers only added two more points before their second timeout, Lewis’ assisting behind his back to Bennett Koch to make it 63-45. The Canadian / British guard ended a fine quarter personally and for his team with one of his trademark three pointers from the on-court logos to see the Sharks in front by 71-53 after thirty minutes play. The expected blowout failed to materialise as Bristol staged a remarkable fightback in the final stanza. Flyers’ Justin Baker hit back to back shots from downtown and Delpeche jammed one in as the margin fell to seven at 76-69. The Sharks stalled on offence, committing a backcourt violation as Bristol sensed an opportunity to capitalise. Okereafor assisted to Delpeche twice for alleyoops and when Lockett completed a second chance score, they were only a solitary point behind at 80-79. The Sharks chose to advance the ball from the resulting timeout and from the resulting fouls, Kipper Nichols drained two nerveless shots from the line to make it 82-79 with 10.5 seconds to go. Some tough defence from Antwon Lillard and MVP Nichols saw the Sharks hang on to claim a much-needed victory.
Five Sharks in double figure scoring and a 91% conversion rate from the line were a huge factor in getting a big win on the table. Eight points and a crucial assist capped a fine third quarter for Nicholas Lewis, who went on to 10 points , 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Bennett Koch continued his rich vein of form with 15 points and 5 rebounds and there was a welcome return to the starting five for Jeremy Hemsley, who poured in 16 with a team high 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals to boot. Jordan Ratinho made it 38 points for the weekend with another 18 including three 3 point conversions but it was a Sharks career best that took the MVP honours. Kipper Nichols led the charge with 19 points overall and 6 rebounds but also many intangibles, not least the late deflection that prevented Bristol getting a final shot away to seal a memorable win.
Post Game Interview
Plymouth Raiders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Friday 26th March 2021, Plymouth Pavilions, 7.30pm Tip Off