Friday 17th November 2023
British Basketball League Regular Season
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 91 Leicester Riders 84
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks took a 91-84 win over Leicester Riders on a thrilling evening that had a bit of everything. Both sides contributed to a back and forth encounter that had the crowd on the edge of their seats, not least from the near full court shot landed by Jalon Pipkins at the end of the third quarter. The last time the Sharks scored 91 or more versus Leicester and came out victorious was on 5th February 2010 so there was just cause to celebrate as the Sharks moved to an 8-6 record and third place in the standings.
Sharks: Ramsey, Pipkins, Ratinho, Nichols, Koch.
Riders: Thomas, Pinson, Asberry, Walker, Holmes.
The Sharks came out determined to protect their fortress with a 10-4 run that concluded on a Deveral Ramsey round-the-back finish. It was Leicester’s Miryne Thomas who hauled his side back into contention. His and-one play made it 14-13 but Jalon Pipkins, Parker Stewart and Jubril Adekoya restored the home lead at 21-15. A tight first quarter ended on Samuel Idowu’s three point shot with little to separate the teams at 21-20.
The Sharks attempted to put distance between themselves and the Riders at the start of the second period. A delicious fake and corner three from Stewart was followed by Bennett Koch making an off-balance and-one play. Jaren Holmes drew Leicester back within two at 31-29 but an 11-2 streak from the Sharks saw them with their biggest lead of the game at 42-31. A 25-19 quarter ended with Atiba Lyons’ side taking a 46-39 advantage in at half time.
The inconsistent shooting of the Sharks previous game at Caledonia was well and truly banished in the third stanza as the three point shot came to the fore. Jordan Ratinho’s effort preceded Devearl Ramsey’s fadeaway bucket late in the shot clock and when Parker Stewart connected from the top of the key, the scoreline read 60-53. The best was yet to come. Ramsey’s stepaway triple made it 63-58 and on the buzzer, an outrageous heave from inside his own arc by Jalon Pipkins sailed through the net and sent the Canon Medical Arena crowd into raptures.
The lead went out to double digits early in the fourth quarter on Kipper Nichols’ long two with the score at 81-71. Still Leicester refused to lie down. TJ Lall and Jaren Holmes made it a two possession game at 83-78 but there was an air of determination from the Sharks to get the job done. Ramsey drove to the hoop and then put his counterpart Kimbal Mackenzie on the floor in making it 87-80. With both sides in the bonus, a series of trips to the line ended a thrilling contest. A successful pair from Kipper Nichols wrapped up a 91-84 victory much to the delight of a vociferous home crowd.
The Sharks shot 52% from the field and 40% from three point territory to banish the blip of the previous week. Three players particularly stood out. Co-captain Bennett Koch again revelled in a leadership role, taking some rough treatment but finishing with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and a block. Jalon Pipkins made 7 of his 8 shots, including that outrageous full court heave, on his way to a fine 17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. But it was the in-form Devearl Ramsey who took the MVP award once again. Crucial shots delivered at crucial moments allowed the guard to 22 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals and a memorable win for his team.
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Bristol Flyers, Sunday November 26th 2023, Canon Medical Arena, 3.00pm Tip Off.