Thursday 11th January 2024
British Basketball League Trophy
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 72 Caledonia Gladiators 80
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks staged an almighty third quarter comeback but sadly ran out of steam in going down by 72-80 against Caledonia Gladiators. The Scots led by as many as 18 towards the end of the first half but a spirited run by the Sharks saw them take a two point lead by the end of the third quarter. Their exertions proved a little too much however as the Gladiators toughed out an eight point win to go 1-2 in the competition. The Sharks are now 0-2 in the group stage and need wins from their last two games to stand a chance of progression.
Sharks: Ramsey, Pipkins, Ratinho, Nichols, Koch.
Gladiators: Bothwell, Onwas, Whelan, Palyza, Alihodzic.
There was little to choose between the sides in a cagey start to the opening quarter. Bennett Koch spun his way to a successful and-one play with the Sharks ahead by 11-10. Back to back three pointers from Lukas Palyza saw Caledonia edge in front and it was the same player with a long two and a Clifton Moore Jr basket that gave the Scots a 15-20 advantage.
The Sharks stalled somewhat offensively in the second period. Caledonia capitalised through a Patrick Whelan three at 19-27 and the GB international extended that lead to 12 at 20-32. Back to back threes from Palyza and Princeton Onwas made it 22-38 and another Whelan bucket took the lead out to its highest point at 18. Finally, shots began to drop from the Sharks – a Jalon Pipkins jumper started a mini-revival and the Sharks first triple of the contest from Kipper Nichols kept the difference at 13 with the score at 29-42 by half time.
A very different Sharks came out of the locker room in an electric third quarter. The tactic of driving to the hoop paid dividends for Devearl Ramsey and when the Gladiators called for time, the Sharks had been on a 13-2 run with the score at 37-44. Little changed after the pause; a couple of Kipper Nichols’ mid-rangers levelled the game at 49-49 before Ramsey’s fadeaway finally gave the Sharks the lead. A Jordan Ratinho trey compounded matters as a 27-14 quarter saw the Sharks with a 56-54 lead going into the final ten minutes.
The superhuman effort from the Sharks took its toll in the final stanza as Caledonia opened with a 0-8 run. Again the Sharks fought back. Ratinho’s three on Prentiss Nixon’s kickout saw them still in touch at 68-70 but as they entered the bonus, Caledonia took advantage. Bennett Koch’s fifth foul saw him leave the game as trips to the line for Fahro Alihodzic and Patrick Whelan saw the visitors up by 72-78. A final timeout for the Sharks came to nothing as Mike Bothwell closed out a 72-80 victory for the Gladiators.
The Sharks announced the departure of Jubril Adekoya prior to the game but welcomed back RJ Eytle-Rock, albeit on very limited minutes. That placed a huge emphasis on the rest of the roster, who pulled out a superhuman effort in a big third period. Jordan Ratinho again led in minutes, finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds in another workmanlike display. Jalon Pipkins grew into the contest, making better shots as the game wore on to finish with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Co-captain Bennett Koch shouldered much of the physical work for back to back double-doubles with 11 points and 10 rebounds before leaving the game two minutes early having fouled out. The eventual MVP was the spark in that scintillating third quarter. Devearl Ramsey provided the energy, driving to the basket for 20 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assists as well as making 8 of his 12 shots from the inside.
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Plymouth City Patriots, Saturday January 20th 2024, Canon Medical Arena, 8.00pm Tip Off.