Sunday 28th November 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72 Leicester Riders 80
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks went down by eight points to visitors Leicester Riders in a game that felt much closer in reality. Both sides put up a defensive masterclass but it was the reigning league champions who took the win on the back of 23 points from Marc Loving and 20 from Geno Crandall. The Sharks now sit at 3-2 after a split weekend ahead of the visit of league newcomers the Plymouth City Patriots.
Sharks: Anderson, Nichols, Ratinho, Glasgow, Delpeche.
Riders: Crandall, Loving, Walker, Whelan, Jackson.
The Sharks went in with the same starting five that successfully took down Newcastle and were rewarded with a similar blistering start. Jordan Ratinho hit back to back threes and a Rodney Glasgow bucket capped a 10-2 opening inside two minutes. Two corner triples from the dangerous Marc Loving plus three successful conversions from the line pulled Leicester back into contention at 23-19. However, a Bennett Koch ‘and one’ play and two Aaron Anderson free throws saw the Sharks to a very respectable 30-21 first quarter lead.
A niggly second period ensued with a series of calls against the Sharks tipping the momentum back Leicester’s way. The Sharks entered the penalty with nearly five minutes to play as reigning league MVP Geno Crandall put the Midlanders into a 35-36 lead. A Kipper Nichols baseline jump shot tied matters again at 40-40. Conner Washington restored a three point lead for Leicester before Marcus Delpeche slammed home on the buzzer with the half time score at 42-43.
The second half was an altogether more defensive affair with only ten points scored in the opening five minutes of the third quarter. Jordan Ratinho finished from beyond the arc after a terrific move around the perimeter and an Aaron Anderson mid-range effort saw the Sharks sneak in front by 53-47. Marc Loving hit yet another corner trey and a Kimbal Mackenzie basket saw the game evenly poised at 57-55 going into the final stanza.
Neither side gave an inch until the final four minutes of the game. Following a huge Anderson triple, Mo Walker gave the Riders a 64-65 lead. Again the foul count built as the Sharks hit the penalty once more with two and a half minutes to play. Leicester joined them with just under a minute to go but not before Washington, Walker and Crandall had opened up an eight point lead at 66-74. The Sharks drew up a play from a timeout with 14 seconds remaining but Rodney Glasgow’s shot failed to hit the target as Leicester’s Conner Washington saw the game out from the line with the score at 72-80.
Post Game Interview
Atiba Lyons gave his summary of a close contest after the game.
Five Sharks hit double figure scores as the Sharks kept pace with the reigning champions for the most part. Jordan Ratinho kickstarted the offence with 11 points including those two early threes and was joined by Kipper Nichols, who added the same points total with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Trying his upmost to influence matters down the stretch was Aaron Anderson. His 14 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals sealed the vote for the Sharks MVP but ultimately wasn’t quite enough to get his side over the line.
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Plymouth City Patriots, Friday 3rd December 2021, Ponds Forge, 7.30pm Tip Off.