Sunday 9th January 2022
BBL Trophy
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 77 Manchester Giants 90

The B. Braun Sharks exited the BBL Trophy at the first time of asking as Manchester Giants took the fifth encounter between the two sides this season to move into the quarter finals. The Sharks were hampered by an injury to Bennett Koch just before half time as the Lancastrians capitalised with a 10-21 third quarter. Despite a fourth quarter fightback, it was Manchester, led by 26 points from GB captain Dan Clark, who took a 77-90 win and progression into the next round.

Starting Fives

Sharks: Anderson A, Nichols, Ratinho, Glasgow Jnr, Koch.

Giants: Clark, Anderson J, Steel, Artison, Armstrong.

Key Moments

With the season series tied at 2-2, it was unsurprising that a close, but high scoring, first half played out. The Sharks led 6-5 on a pair of Bennett Koch free throws before GB skipper Clark went to work with twelve of the Giants next fourteen points. Devante Wallace announced his debut in Sheffield with a big two at 12-14 and his pair from the line gave the Sharks a 20-19 lead. It took a late bucket from Manchester’s Tyrik Armstrong to see the first quarter close at 20-21.

The high scoring, close encounter continued apace in the second period. Wallace again restored the Sharks lead from distance at 27-25 and it took back to back threes from Josh Steel and Will Saunders to cap a 0-10 run and see the Giants in front by 36-45. Marcus Delpeche, in front of his onlooking twin brother Malcolm, thundered home a dunk from Aaron Anderson’s assist to make it 41-49 and three successful free throws by the Sharks influential point guard concluded a half that left the game anyone’s to play for at 47-51.

An injury to Bennett Koch just before half time saw him absent for the second half and his presence was keenly missed in opposition to the Manchester bigs. Clark’s third trey from the top of the key kickstarted a 10-21 third stanza for the Giants as Geno Artison gave the red rose side their biggest lead of the game at 47-58 with a dunk on Armstrong’s assist. Four late Francois Lewis points extended the lead out to nineteen but a big corner bucket from Joe Mvuezolo reduced that to fifteen with the score at 57-72.

Given the knockout status of the game, the Sharks did their upmost to reduce the deficit in the final quarter. Marcus Delpeche was quick off the boards to put back Mvuezolo’s three point attempt as the gap came down to nine at 71-80. However, Clark hit his 26th point from downtown in reply and as the Sharks had to resort to fouls to stop the clock, Armstrong and Artison saw out a 77-90 success for the men from over the Pennines.

MVP

There was a Sharks career best for Marcus Delpeche in front of his brother, Bristol Flyer Malcolm. His 16 points and 3 rebounds came on eight of ten shooting in an efficient night’s work. Kipper Nichols too brought his typical energy on the way to 14, also with 3 rebounds but it was Aaron Anderson who took the honours on the night. He dished out a trademark 7 assists with 4 rebounds and 2 steals as well as being successful on 7 of his 8 attempts from the line for a total of 12 points.

Post Game Interview

Skipper Mike Tuck spoke of his frustration at the exit but with optimism at the games to come.

Next game

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Cheshire Phoenix, Friday 14th January 2022, Ponds Forge, 7.30pm Tip Off.

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Adam Bates

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