Friday 22nd December 2023
British Basketball League Regular Season
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 76 Bristol Flyers 66 (1OT)
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks saw off Bristol Flyers in an overtime battle that secured the head-to-head over the South West outfit and returned the Sharks to fourth in the standings. A typical Sharks-Flyers scrap ensued and despite the Sharks threatening to break free on several occasions, the Flyers fought back to tie the game at 62-62 at the end of regulation. The Sharks got the crucial first score in overtime, wrapping up the additional five minutes by 14-4 and the game by 76-66 in total.
Sharks: Ramsey, Pipkins, Ratinho, Nichols, Koch.
Flyers: Samuels, Jackson, Thomas-Edwards, Graham-Bell, Greene.
The two sides had met each other three times in quick succession and it was no surprise when a typically defensive first half played out. Bristol took a 2-7 lead on Corey Samuels’ three point shot but an eight point run, concluding on Jordan Ratinho’s corner triple gave the Sharks a 10-7 advantage. A Prentiss Nixon trey and Rodney Glasgow’s long two saw the South Yorkshire side with a 15-11 lead.
The resilient Flyers fought back in a 12-20 second period. Trejon Jacob’s three plus one play immediately levelled the contest and a repeat triple restored Bristol’s lead. The Sharks went into the bonus with fully six minutes left in the half but kept tabs with the visitors as a Marcus Delpeche alleyoop restored parity once more at 22-22. Four points from former Shark Leslee Smith and a Rowell Graham-Bell basket gave Bristol a 27-31 advantage at half time however.
An altogether different Sharks team opened the second half with a 13-0 run. Atiba Lyons’ men reached for another gear as a Kipper Nichols trey opened up a nine point gap at 40-31. Again Bristol fought back. Three Jacob baskets limited any potential breakaway as the third closed at 46-42.
The fourth stanza saw the Sharks again make a run but were unable to put the game to bed. Back to back jump shots from Devearl Ramsey were followed by a three late in the clock as a 9-0 burst put the Sharks ahead by 59-50. Jacob’s fourth triple of the evening brought the Flyers back within three as the game entered a tense final 30 seconds. CJ Jackson made it a one point game from the line at 61-60 and with both sides in the penalty, Kipper Nichols turned that to 62-60 from the stripe. A foul called on Ratinho with 1.7 seconds to go saw Jackson ice the free throws that sent the game to overtime.
The old adage that the opening scorer of overtime goes on to win the game rang true. Bennett Koch’s free throw was followed by a Jalon Pipkins three and a Ratinho layup as Bristol called for time at 68-62. Tejon Lucas briefly intervened for the Flyers but baskets for Koch and Pipkins and successful trips to the line for Nichols closed out a hard-fought 76-66 success.
The Sharks upped their shooting percentage from 32 at half time to 42 by the end of the game as one of their keys to success. Co-skipper Bennett Koch again dealt with some rough treatment but battled through to record 9 points and 9 rebounds. Almost half of the Sharks scoring output came from Jalon Pipkins and Kipper Nichols. Pipkins weighed in with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals and Nichols led the Sharks with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and a block. A timely injection of energy saw Devearl Ramsey pick up the MVP award. His double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds came with 6 assists and 2 steals to seal a vital head-to-head against one of the sides likely to be in and around the Sharks come the regular season end.
London Lions v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday December 24th 2023, Copperbox Arena, 1.00pm Tip Off.