Friday 22nd April 2022
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 91 Manchester Giants 86
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks are the runners-up in the 2021-22 BBL Championship. They fought back from a 19 point first quarter deficit to pour in 78 in the second, third and fourth and take a memorable win over their Roses rivals as well as confirming their second seeding for the upcoming playoffs. Jordan Ratinho top scored for the Sharks with 25, who will match up against Glasgow Rocks in the post-season quarter finals.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Glasgow Jr, Mvuezolo, Koch.
Giants: McKnight, Clark, Anderson, Artison, Armstrong.
The Sharks were somewhat shellshocked in the first quarter as their Lancastrian rivals came out all guns blazing. A 0-14 run took Manchester out to a 7-25 lead on Jamell Anderson’s three point score and that deficit became 19 when Dan Clark connected from the top of the key at 9-28. Jordan Ratinho kickstarted another evening where he played all forty minutes with an ‘and one’ play but Will Saunders’ pair from the line still saw the Giants ahead by 13-31 after the opening ten minutes.
The Sharks began the fightback with a 29-18 second period. Rodney Glasgow Jr, Nate Montgomery and Kipper Nichols all made three point plays that set the Sharks on an 11-0 run of their own as the deficit came down to 7 at 24-31. Manchester’s Geno Artison finished Dan Clark’s alleyoop pass as the Giants nudged it back to ten at 32-42 but nerves of steel saw Rodney Glasgow Jr close the half from the line with the score at 42-49.
The Sharks weren’t finished there. 25 and 24 point third and fourth quarters took the game to the free-scoring Mancunians as the Sharks showed their offensive talents as well as their renowned defensive ones. A pair of Kipper Nichols triples and two big Bennett Koch baskets, the second of which came on a sublime assist from Glasgow, took the gap down to a single point and when Marcus Delpeche dunked home at 61-60, the Sharks claimed their first lead of the game. Nichols jammed home along the baseline as scores were tied once again and a late trey from the Giants Josh Steel saw the visitors with a slender 67-70 lead going into the final stanza.
The game went back and forth at the top of the fourth. Clark extended Manchester’s lead to six, pegged back by Montgomery’s corner three and when Ratinho followed suit, Saunders restored parity at 79-79. Devante Wallace chose the ideal moment to register his first points with a three and a neat palm-off by the Sharks guard allowed Ratinho to send the Yorkshire side ahead by 85-79. Still the Giants wouldn’t go away. Tyrik Armstrong restored their lead with five points at 85-86 but it was left to Bennett Koch to close out an exciting victory. He made the final six points of the encounter and came up with some sound defence to force Saunders into a last ditch miss as the Sharks concluded the 91-86 win that assured them of second place in the league.
Ten different Sharks have top-scored during this 2021-22 season and after a series of defensive games, it was once again a team affair that took them to a high-scoring win over their red rose rivals. Bennett Koch wrapped up the win on his way to 15 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists on 7 of 8 shooting. Bringing the energy that fired that offensive output was Rodney Glasgow. He poured in 16 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assists for an efficiency rating of 23. Just one behind was Kipper Nichols. His 18 points included a perfect six from six from the line and two vital threes that aided the remarkable turnaround. But claiming his third consecutive MVP award was Jordan Ratinho. Once again he played every available minute, shooting 8 from 11 from the field and four key three pointers on his way to 25 points with 5 assists and 2 steals as a memorable second placed finish was secured.
Post Game Interview
Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons gave full credit to his team for the comeback win and was fulsome in praise of the backroom staff in securing the second place finish.
Surrey Scorchers v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday April 24th 2022, Surrey Sports Park, 2.00pm Tip Off.