The entertainment factor was ramped up to the max tonight at the EIS Sheffield as the DBL Sharks Sheffield came away with a 79-77 win over in-form Worcester Wolves. The Wolves had poured in 100 points plus against their last three league opponents so it displayed a tremendous team effort from the Sharks to restrict the scoring of their illustrious opposition and complete the victory minus the efforts of injury-hit Colin Sing and Zach Gachette.
Sharks: Davis, Tuck, Wroblicky, Rembert, Riley.
Wolves: Walker, Klassen, Setty, Huffor, Kennedy.
Worcester came into the game with a free-scoring reputation and when Klassen hit the opening trey the signs looked ominous. Tuck and Rembert replied in a triple-heavy first period as the Sharks went in front by 10-5 only to see Huffor reply with eight points that saw the Wolves up by 12-13. Eddy Brownell benefitted from early minutes by draining another at 21-20 on the angle but Klassen and Kennedy found success from the perimeter once more before Kellen Thornton reduced the deficit at 27-28 with ten minutes played.
It remained nip and tuck in the early stages of the second period. Wroblicky flushed an early deuce for the Sharks as Klassen and Navajas inched Worcester in front by 33-39. Walker, Bachman and Kennedy extended the lead to 36-46 and it looked as if it was a bridge too far for the Sharks. Sheer guts won the day as Wroblicky (5), Riley (3) and Rembert (3) drained the points that saw the half time scoreboard honours even at 47 apiece.
The first half of the third quarter saw both sides trading buckets. Wroblicky’s and one play midway through the third saw the Sharks inch in front by 58-57 only for Kennedy’s and one to restore the lead a minute later. Worcester lost their head as Setty earned a technical and Brownell (E), Thornton and Rembert pushed the Sharks up by 64-60. Crucially, Klassen hit four fouls shortly after, backup guard Ashton Khan already sidelined with an injury, and was forced to carry on for the remainder of the contest with the sword hanging over him. Thornton flushed a score, Davis drained a dagger three and a Walker bucket saw the third period close at 71-66.
The final stanza began slowly before Klassen opened with a trey at 71-69. Tuck hit the four foul mark with six minutes to play and a nervous spell of play followed where Bachman levelled matters at 73 each. Klassen levelled again at 75 each before Walker departed the game with 1.19 remaining having received his five fouls. A controversial goal tend call saw Worcester back in front by 76-77 with 59 seconds to play but the might of Mike Tuck wrested the advantage back to the Sharks at 78-77 with 39 seconds to go. A further defensive stop saw the Sharks take a timeout with 22 seconds remaining. Rembert went to the line for a point at 79-77. Rembert again saw the ball safely out of bounds with 7.1 seconds to go and a hashed final shot for the Wolves saw the Sharks cling on for a memorable and well-deserved win.
Sheer statistics alone didn’t do justice to the effort put in by the short-handed Sharks roster. The fifteen minutes put forth by Eddy Brownell showed a tremendous will to win with a couple of steals at crucial moments that gave the Sharks a decided advantage. Kellen Thornton was only required for 13 minutes but established 8 points and 7 rebounds in that time. Such was the team nature of the display that the eventual MVP award went three ways. Shooting a reasonably healthy 41% was Rashawn Rembert, who carried on from his Manchester form on the way to 17 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Stepping up when his Captain was forced to sit was Tony Wroblicky. He corralled 16 points with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in a display that showed leadership qualities at a time of need. Completing the triumvirate was the old war horse Tuck. He made 17 points with 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals despite teetering on foul trouble and utilised his considerable presence to get his team over the line despite the challenge of their in-form opponents.
Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons spoke of a hard-fought win in difficult circumstances post the Wolves contest.
DBL Sharks Sheffield at London Lions, Wednesday 15th February 2017, Copperbox Arena, 7.30pm tip off.
Image: Sharks Team Photographers