The DBL Sharks Sheffield went down by 80-71 on the road at Leicester Riders but it still wasn’t enough to confirm Riders BBL title due to win for Newcastle at home to Glasgow by 103-86. The Sharks were vastly improved from their aberration in front of the cameras against Glasgow and it is now a matter of utilising their remaining four games to see who their Playoff quarter final opponents will be.
Riders: Clark, Bernardini, Hampton, King, Walker.
Sharks: Rembert, Guercy, Sing, Riley, Wroblicky.
A Pierre Hampton trey opened the game but the Riders weren’t to have it all their own way. Riley put the Sharks in front at 5-7 and as Leicester restored their lead, Rashawn Rembert drained a trademark triple to put the visitors back in front at 10-12. Conner Washington made two from the line to inch Leicester back in front by 18-16 but a Rembert trey with 8 seconds remaining saw the Sharks in front by 20-22 at the quarter.
A low-scoring second period ensued. A Brandon Clark steal and bucket made it 30-27 with 3.37 remaining in the half but this was soon levelled by a Zach Gachette three and a Rashawn Rembert jump shot minutes later at 32 all. It took scores from Hampton and ex-Duke player Taylor King to see the Riders up by 36-32 at the half.
The third quarter became something of a three point shooting exhibition. King opened followed by the impressive Rembert; Riley and Hampton joining the party at 51-44. Riley saw the Sharks as close as three at 51-48 but GB vet Andrew Sullivan ensured the Riders went in by 57-50 after thirty minutes play.
Leicester took that lead out to 63-52 early in the fourth thanks to Sullivan. Tuck joined Colin Sing on four fouls but the Sharks carried on unabated as Riley hit yet another three at 67-62. Walker and Bernardini hit back to back treys at 73-62 and that kind of broke the Sharks resistence. Riley’s three on the fadeaway was too little too late as the champions –elect ran out victors by 80-71 overall.
The Sharks were again without Jordan Davis and George Brownell and it took a mammoth effort for the remaining players to get up for an encounter with the champions-to-be. Malcolm Riley took his time to get going but finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds and an assist. Given a lot of ball-handling responsibility, Rashawn Rembert took the award with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals as the makeshift Sharks pushed the to-be title winners so, so close.
Sharks skipper Mike Tuck was disappointed with the loss but proud of the efforts his team-mates made.
‘It was a tough game to lose. Leicester are a tough, deep team with lots of experience so we knew coming in that it wasn’t going to be an easy match. I think that we started the game much better than we have in the last couple. We gave ourselves a good chance in the second half but some really tough calls from the refs, turnovers and quick shots hurt us. We ran out of time in the end. A tough loss but I’m proud of our effort.’
DBL Sharks Sheffield v Manchester Giants, Trafford Sportsdome, Sunday 9th April 2017, 5pm Tip Off.
Image: Sharks Team Photographers