Sharks head way down South! Round 24 previewed…

The DBL Sharks Sheffield head down to the sunny South West for the weekend with a new face in camp. Point Guard Max Guercy joins the roster in time for the lengthy journey to in-form Bristol and high-scoring Plymouth as the season continues in earnest.

First up on the epic road-trip are Bristol Flyers. The Flyers currently hold the eighth and final playoff place, tussling it out with Surrey Scorchers for a place at the big dance. After a pretty miserable start to the campaign, results picked up dramatically mid-season with a five game streak in the league and now the Bristolians are a team to be feared. Their latest success saw a Brandon Boggs three pointer at the death claiming a 73-72 home win over the mercurial London Lions. Flyers Coach Andreas Kapoulas is known for being a shrewd cookie and a few mid-term adjustments have been key to the change in their fortunes. One such acquisition was Aaron Cosby. He has rewarded Kapoulas with 18.58 ppg and kickstarted Bristol’s season on offence. Hameed Ali weighs in with 15.38 ppg as well as close to 5 assists per game and Daniel Edozie is again providing the muscle as well as pulling down 9.15 boards per game. The Sharks took a 59-57 win at the WISE Arena in early season but both sides have clearly altered and progressed since then. Never an easy venue to visit, Saturday’s encounter will be one where the Sharks would gladly take any positive result and hope to wrap up the head-to-head in advance of the Flyers visit to Sheffield at Easter.

Sunday sees the Sharks journey continue even further south to take on Plymouth Raiders. The Devonians sit just one place behind the Sharks in fifth with a 12-10 record having played one more game than their northern counterparts. One thing usually guaranteed when the Raiders go on court is that the ball will be disappearing through the hoop with regularity. Their Antipodean angle on proceedings dictates that high production on offence is key to the game and they clearly have the players that can make this happen. Player Coach Daryl Corletto is a renowned three point shooter and is still racking up 17.23 ppg this season. Athleticism is another feature of the Plymouth game. Anton Grady (18.41 ppg), Donte Nicholas (17.27 ppg) and Corey Dixon (17.86 ppg) all find the rim with regularity and of course, the Raiders have the solid and calming influence of former Shark John Barber Jr when taking care of the defensive aspects. Plymouth secured their place in the BBL Trophy Final with a 179-168 aggregate win over Worcester Wolves last weekend before falling to Glasgow Rocks by 98-80 on Sunday. Previous to that they took down Cheshire by 116-110 to pretty much run the full gamut of their performances this season. Never a dull moment when they play and again they have an intimidating venue in the Pavilions where a partisan crowd cheer them on to many successes.

The final piece in the Sharks jigsaw came this week just before the signing deadline in the form of 5’ 9” former Rice University point guard Max Guercy. Guercy started the season with NH Ostrava in the Czech Republic and was the all-time leader in assists at Rice. Coach Lyons feels that Guercy will share the load with Jordan Davis, giving the Sharks two highly-creative players as well as being hard-nosed defenders. Guercy will join the Sharks on the road southwards for the weekend as the team look to get back into their stride following another blank weekend. The season is reaching the business end and momentum becomes the key word as teams build towards playoff places and form in post-season itself. Bristol fighting for a playoff berth and a head-to-head decider versus Plymouth presents a pretty challenging weekend and it is key that the Sharks are up for such a task.

Can’t join the SharkNation in the South West this weekend? Don’t forget you can watch both games on livebasketball.tv. We tip at 7.30pm on Saturday in Bristol and 4pm on Sunday in Plymouth. Missing game night? Fear Not! We are back at the EIS on Friday 10th March when Glasgow Rocks are our visitors. Click the link on the sharksbasketball.org home page to buy tickets for this and all our remaining games. No basketball fan can afford to miss a bit of March Madness!!

Image: Sharks Team Photographers