BBL Championship

Friday 14th December 2018 DBL Sharks Sheffield v Newcastle Eagles

Sunday 16th December 2018 London Lions v DBL Sharks Sheffield

A tough December continues for the DBL Sharks Sheffield with the visit of the much-garlanded Newcastle Eagles as well as a visit to the capital to face current leaders London Lions. The Sharks head into the weekend having won seven on the trot in the league and on the back of last Friday’s 71-70 over reigning champs Leicester Riders.

What to expect – Newcastle Eagles

Fab Flournoy’s Eagles currently sit in fourth place with a 7-4 record. They will be heartily fed up of the mention of ‘London,’ having gone down by 170-160 against the Lions last weekend in the BBL Cup semi-final on aggregate. Prior to that, they took a dip against London City Royals by 98-81 and to top off their capital conundrum, they lost to the Lions once again by 96-78 the week before. To sum up the Eagles on the strength of those performances is a clear misnomer however. Any side with former MVP Rahmon Fletcher (14.5 ppg, 9.9 apg) in its ranks is always going to be a contender and allied with the forward power of Victor Moses (19.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Darius Defoe (15.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg), you write them off at your absolute peril. No matter what the personnel, a Sharks – Eagles contest is always a battle royale and Friday should be no different.

What to expect – London Lions

The Sharks already have prior knowledge of the Lions due to a 73-80 defeat at Ponds Forge earlier in the season. Vince Macaulay’s men will undoubtedly be buoyed by their passage into the final of the BBL Cup and they sit proudly at the head of the BBL table – not the worst start to the season! Getting the job done for the Lions is Ladarius Tabb (19 ppg, 8.7 rpg) who particularly impressed at Ponds Forge with his above the rim display. Justin Robinson (17.9 ppg, 4.3 apg) is not the current MVP and GB point guard for nothing and in his second season in London colours, Brandon Peel (14 ppg, 9 rpg) is again proving the value of his signature. The Lions appear to have a sniff of breaking Leicester and Newcastle’s dominance of the league in recent years and in their Copperbox Arena, they are a formidable prospect. Tough aint the word for it!

Shark Watch

The Sharks are on a seven game streak in the league; their best since January 2016. Fighting back from eleven points down to beat Leicester was a huge achievement and thanks in no small part to Dirk Williams, who posted a double double of 33 points with 10 rebounds on his way to another All Star Five berth. Atiba Lyons is right to point out that he has a good side while being acutely aware that he still has areas to work on. This December is a huge test for his charges and they will be keen to prove that the Leicester success was no flash in the pan.

Last time out

Newcastle Eagles (Paige 24, Williams 15, Gunjina 15) 82 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Alexander 17, Wroblicky 9, Marsden 9) 58

DBL Sharks Sheffield (Castro-Caneddy 17, Alexander 16, Marsden 12) 73 London Lions (Tabb 21, Spencer 19, Lockhart 16) 80

Fans Corner

We’ve been away for a long time but we’re back for our pre-Christmas game this Friday! This is your last chance to see the Sharks in the flesh before the big guy in red comes down the chimney. Hit the link below to give the gift of Sharks Basketball this festive season. We’re on the road to London Lions on Sunday – www.livebasketball.tv is the place to be at 4pm if you can’t make the journey. Or why not follow our Twitter feed (@sheffieldsharks) – where we will be posting all the highlight plays for you to enjoy!

Next home game

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Kieran Kenney