It was honours almost even for the DBL Sharks Sheffield following the first leg of the BBL Playoff Quarter Final against Worcester Wolves. The Sharks recovered from being fourteen points down at half time to see the encounter close at 71-73 in favour of the midlanders. Atiba Lyons’ men recovered from a dismal 26% shooting effort after twenty minutes play to put themselves in with a fighting chance for the second leg in Worcester on Sunday.
Sharks: Tuck, Wroblicky, Guercy, Riley, Rembert.
Wolves: Klassen, Setty, Huffor, Navajas, Kennedy.
Both sides appeared a little nervous of the occasion in the opening stages but it was Worcester gained composure the quicker. Navajas broke the shackles with a three from the top of the key, quickly followed by Klassen as the score went out to 6-12 midway through the first period. Six Zach Gachette points pulled the Sharks back into the contest at 12-14 but Huffor with a trey, Walker and Khan saw Paul James’ men claim a first quarter lead at 14-22.
Worcester continued to enforce their dominance in the second period. Huffor, Zeigler and Khan took the score out to 16-27 before Mike Tuck, Zach Gachette and Rashawn Rembert, with an ‘and one’ play, reigned it back to 25-27. The Sharks would only add four more points to the end of the half as Navajas, Setty and Kennedy all found success from distance to see the quarter end at 29-43 much to the annoyance of Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons.
Lyons’ displeasure in the locker room clearly had an effect on his players as Max Guercy answered Trevor Setty’s triple almost immediately. Malcolm Riley also found success from the top of the key and it was Worcester who were scrambling for a timeout as Rashawn Rembert’s triple capped a 15-3 run with the score at 44-49. The Wolves yet again weathered the Sharks comeback with buckets for Huffor at 48-58 and it took a mid-range Riley score for the stanza to end at 50-58.
George Brownell opened the final period with a three as the Sharks continued to show their fighting spirit. Some vintage work from Mike Tuck further narrowed the deficit at 57-60 and a trey out of the corner from Rembert finally levelled the tie at 60 midway through the quarter. The shooting threat of the Wolves continued unabated as Huffor (7) and Setty found the target from deep with the score at 66-71 but a Gachette triple and two from the line from the unerring Rembert saw scores level once more at 71 with just over a minute to play. Sharks skipper Mike Tuck took one for the team by cleaning out Huffor on the fast break to exit the game on five fouls. Huffor was successful from the charity stripe to send his side into Sunday’s second leg with a two point lead at 71-73.
It was the proverbial game of two halves for the Sharks as the Playoff campaign kicked off. Only Zach Gachette emerged with any credit from a lacklustre first half on his way to a solid 11 points with 4 rebounds. Things improved dramatically in the second as Max Guercy (11 points 5 assists) and Rashawn Rembert (20 points) fired the Sharks back into the contest. The eventual MVP needed to show all his experience of post-season basketball to put his side in with a fighting chance however. Mike Tuck battled, fought and scrapped all the way for 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists and a well-timed five fouls with the sort of display that will be needed equally as much in Worcester on Sunday afternoon.
Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons spoke of a topsy-turvy performance from his side as they look to progress to the semi-finals on the road in the Midlands this Sunday.
DBL Sharks Sheffield at Worcester Wolves, Sunday 30th April, University Of Worcester Arena, 4pm tip off.
Image: Sharks Team Photographers