The DBL Sharks Sheffield came out on top of a battle royale worthy of third against fourth, taking down the Glasgow Rocks by 98-90. Three Sharks topped twenty point hauls as the Yorkshire side eased to within two points of the Scots with a third decisive encounter to come in three weeks’ time.
Sharks: Davis, Tuck, Wroblicky, Rembert, Riley.
Rocks: Lescault, Achara, Thomas, Watson, Murray.
The pace was relentless throughout the whole forty minutes and it was the Rocks who got off to the better start. Watson’s off-balance trey gave them a 2-7 advantage and it took a 12-2 run from the Sharks to finally see them in front at 14-9. Threes from Murray and Bunyan saw Glasgow inch back in front by 16-17 but a Jordan Davis triple followed by a drive down Main Street put the homesters in front by 21-17. Zac Gachette sent for the bodybags with a block on Bunyan but points from Hayden Lescault saw the deficit narrowed to 23-21 by the quarter end.
The intensity refused to drop in the second period. The sides traded until the mid-point when Tony Wroblicky went to work with three quick buckets at 38-29. GB Vet Kieron Achara reduced that by three moments later and despite a Rashawn Rembert triple in the final minute, Murray and Lescault saw barely a hairs-breadth between the sides at 41-38 after twenty minutes play.
Glasgow came out of the traps faster after half time. Two Achara scores and a Neil Watson trey put them up by 41-45 and saw Sharks playcaller Atiba Lyons calling for time. Wroblicky arrested the decline and a Davis three from the corner saw the Sharks just one point down at 46-47. Wroblicky corralled another hook shot and Malcolm Riley’s three put the hosts back in front by 51-47. Like two prizefighters, the sides slugged it out until home debutant Max Guercy made the steal and went coast to coast to give the Sharks a 59-57 lead. Zach Gachette just beat the shot clock in extending that to 61-57 and Rembert’s score on the fast break made it 63-57. Neil Watson made an and one play in the dying seconds as the Sharks held a slender 63-60 lead going into the final stanza.
That rarest of rare events, a Tony Wroblicky three-pointer, opened the final period. Glasgow’s own sharp shooter Gareth Murray replied in kind soon after and despite Tuck and Davis (and one) making three point plays, Murray continued to plough his own furrow. Malcolm Riley opened up a 76-68 advantage but that man Murray went three from three at the line to ensure the Rocks were never far away at 76-71. Achara continued another performance befitting of his status with the three at 80-78 and it took Davis and Riley to extend the lead back out to 87-80 just one minute later. Tuck completed a magnificent putback on a Davis three point attempt at 91-85 as both sides found themselves in penalty going into the final minute. The Sharks negotiated a series of trips to the line as Glasgow looked to manage the clock and cling to hopes of victory. Neil Watson’s three at the death was the final score as the Sharks confirmed a very pleasing 98-90 success over their nearest rivals in the table.
In potentially the best game seen at the EIS this season, choosing a stand-out was equally hard. Malcolm Riley’s 21 points with 4 rebounds could well have been a game-changer on any other night. Ditto Tony Wroblicky. He recovered from a slow start to drop in 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. The man who had it all however was Jordan Davis. His 20 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal drew an efficiency rating of 28 and set an early marker for an All Star Five berth. Again the team was greater than the sum of its parts but Davis was the driving force behind a landmark win and will be looking to continue the momentum as the team roll on to Cheshire on Sunday.
Atiba Lyons spoke of a pleasing win and narrowing the gap to just two points behind the Sharks opponents from north of the border.
Next Up: DBL Sharks Sheffield at Cheshire Phoenix, Sunday 12th March 2017, 5.30pm Tip Off
Image: Sharks Team Photographers