Sunday 1st May 2022
BBL Playoff Quarter Final 2nd Leg
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72 Glasgow Rocks 96 (155-172 on aggregate)

Progress in the BBL playoffs proved to be a bridge too far for the short-handed B. Braun Sheffield Sharks as they fell to a 17 point aggregate defeat to the Glasgow Rocks. The Sharks, without key men Antwain Johnson and Rodney Glasgow Jr, left everything out on court to lead by two on aggregate going into the final quarter. However, their exertions in adverse circumstances proved too much as the Scots dominated the last ten minutes to progress to the semi-final stage.

Starting Fives

Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Mvuezolo, Koch, Wallace.

Rocks: Johnson V, Hillsman, Harris, Johnson J, Murray.

Key Moments

There were some tired legs in the Sharks camp as the Rocks raced out to a 3-11 lead on Jordan Johnson’s three point score. Like so many times on the evening, the Sharks dug deep and Joe Mvuezolo narrowed the game night gap to 15-19. The Sharks introduced skipper Mike Tuck for his 500th appearance as the score became 20-22 on an outstanding rearrange finish by Mvuezolo. Jaycee Hillsman completed an ‘and one’ play but it was Marcus Delpeche who concluded the first quarter with the score at 24-29.

Jordan Harris made the first six points of the second period for Glasgow as the Rocks restored their aggregate lead and this was compounded by Fraser Malcolm’s corner triple at 28-40. Back to back treys from Kipper Nichols kept the difference at ten on the night with the score at 39-49 but in an instant, Glasgow player-coach Gareth Murray took the lead back out to thirteen. A pair from the line by Devante Wallace concluded a high-scoring first half at 42-54.

The Sharks left everything they had out on court in a 23-16 third quarter but it exhausted every last bit of energy they had. Wallace made the ‘and one’ score that ended a 9-3 run with the Sharks ahead overall on aggregate by one at 51-57. The Sharks played some high-level defence in a bid to haul themselves into contention as Jordan Ratinho once again levelled the combined total at 63-70. The same player assisted to Marcus Delpeche on the buzzer as the Sharks claimed a two point aggregate lead with the score at 65-70.

The effort put into an intense third quarter clearly took its toll in the fourth. Triples from Hillsman and Malcolm saw Glasgow into a thirteen point lead and when Murray made it eighteen from downtown inside the final three minutes, the writing looked to be on the wall. The Sharks went into the bonus in the final minute as successful trips to the line for Murray saw the Scots close a 7-26 quarter, a 72-96 win on the night and a 155-172 victory overall on aggregate.

MVP

Thirty four minutes of court time for Joe Mvuezolo gleaned 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steal and a block for the energetic three guard. There was another 40 minute outing for the unbelievable fitness levels of Jordan Ratinho. The player, later to receive the coaches player of the year award, finished with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Kipper Nichols, again pressed into ball handling duties for a large portion of the game, finished with a highly-creditable 15 points, 3 rebounds and an assist. The MVP was awarded the fans player of the year award post-game. Devante Wallace, himself with significant ball carrying responsibilities, shot 46% from the field on his way to a team-high 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals.

Post Game Interview

Sharks captain Mike Tuck on his 500th appearance expressed his frustration at the climax of the season but was full of praise for the club as a whole on the back of an exciting campaign.

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Adam Bates

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