Sunday 29th September 2019
BBL Cup North Group
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 75 Cheshire Phoenix 60
The B. Braun Sharks moved to 2-1 in the group on the back of another hard-working display over Cheshire Phoenix. The weather in Sheffield might have been dull and damp but Mackey McKnight lifted the spirits at Ponds Forge with an outstanding 25 point haul to draw the Sharks level with Glasgow and Newcastle in the table.
Sharks: Lewis, Backovic, Marsden, McKnight, Koch.
Phoenix: Sayers, Ochereobia, Latinovic, Hayes, Jackson-Cartwright.
It was Bennett Koch who kick-started the Sharks offence, immediately drawing a foul and knocking down the free throws. Cilo Latinovic put Cheshire up by 6-7 midway through the quarter but the ‘Nix only went on to score two more points as the Sharks became dominant. Connor Cashaw lengthened the Sharks roster on his debut with his team-mates keen to impress. Koch added his seventh point with a spectacular grab and layup and a Mike Tuck two from the angle behind the hoop saw the Sharks take the period at 17-9.
An 8-18 run from Cheshire saw them comfortably back in the game. Three pointers from Sayers and Latinovic capped by a Jackson-Cartright bucket gave them their second lead of the game at 25-27. Four Mackey McKnight points and a Nick Lewis trey in the final thirty seconds saw the Sharks take the half time spoils by 32-27.
Much as the Sharks tried, they could never quite shake off the attentions of the ‘Nix. A couple of Nick Lewis steals saw Cheshire take time at 44-36 but a contested three from Sayers, who made 5 on the night and a score from Lufadeju saw the Phoenix in touch at 53-47 at the end of the third.
Cheshire continued that momentum at the top of the fourth quarter. Another Sayers triple and a Hayes lay up brought them to within one at 53-52. McKnight continued with his BBL career-high display and a big three on the angle from Lewis once again had the Phoenix scrambling for a timeout at 67-57. McKnight got into assist mode to allow Koch to put the Sharks ahead by 71-59 and finished off the win himself with the score at 75-60.
Mike Tuck led from the front, going 1-1 from beyond the arc and shooting 71% inside for 14 overall. Bennett Koch brought the energy right from the off on his way to another solid 14 points and 6 rebounds. Nick Lewis fell just two points short of another twenty point haul and maintained his reputation of being able to pick any pocket with another three steals. However, it was a BBL career best game for Mackey McKnight. The regulation six assists were still on the statsheet but McKnight was a scoring revelation on his way to a fine 25 points, with 2 rebounds and 2 steals in a great all-round game.
Nick Lewis spoke of another excellent team performance and of his own terrific form since his return to the BBL with the Sharks.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Glasgow Rocks, Friday 11th October 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off