The DBL Sharks Sheffield wear a four game winning streak as a badge of honour but face their toughest test of the season so far with the visit of London Lions. The Lions sit third in the BBL table with a 3-2 record but have a roster that many feel can challenge for the top honours in this fledgling season. The Sharks will be looking to add to their game on game improvement as their run of home games draws to a close and the road begins to beckon.
London lost their last game on the road in Cheshire but that should sound alarm bells in the Sharks camp. The Lions were up by as many as 20 points against the ‘Nix and were comfortable for three quarters. A final period aberration saw them go down by 78-71, having been outscored by 32-13. Clearly London will be keen to make up for this loss and they have to the tools to do it. Contributing 20 points in the Cheshire loss was Great Britain guard Justin Robinson, who has lots of experience of the European basketball scene. Assisting him in the backcourt is Austrian international Moritz Lanegger and they have further pieces in their locker in the form of Andre Lockhart and former Leeds Force sharpshooter Jack Isenbarger. Their forward ranks are equally impressive. Sheffield-born Will Hall returns to the UK after a successful year in Spain and he is joined by Great Britain’s Paul Guede and unerringly-accurate Serb Momcilo Latinovic. Demonte Flannigan out of Cleveland State has caught the eye in the early games and contributed 16 in the Cheshire defeat and is joined on the import ranks by Brandon Peel from Central Connecticut, where he averaged 11.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his senior year.
The feeling is that this Lions side is possibly the deepest they have ever assembled and is capable of challenging the likes of Newcastle and Leicester for honours. Calling the plays for London this season is Mariusz Karol. Karol brings success in Polish basketball with him to the capital and is a key part of the future London dream to take part in European competition. It is obvious that London are well down the road of planning for this and will be keen to secure domestic success to prove that they are worthy of a higher stage.
The Sharks secured their fourth successive win with an 86-70 success over Bristol Flyers last Friday. A hot second quarter where they amassed 36 points was key to the win after a relatively slow start. The Sharks also showed that they can weather a storm, as Bristol attempted to fight back in the third and fourth periods and the feeling was that it was a more-complete game than their previous win over Plymouth. Not that the Sharks feel that they are the finished article. Coach Lyons has spoke of further composure being needed and work being done to embed the defensive ethos he would like. One player who appears to be taking this on board is Tony Wroblicky. The giant centre poured in 19 points against the Flyers to go with 12 rebounds and looks to have taken his game to a higher level. However, the fact that five of the seven players utilised last Friday all put up double figure scoring showed that this bunch of players have the ability to trouble any opponent and a similar effort will be needed to take down the much-fancied London side.
Just two games remain of the big opening home run. Will the Sharks tame the Lions from the capital? Which side will have a pre-Halloween horror show? If it’s entertainment you want, then the EIS is the place to be this Friday. For tickets go to:
Will the Sharks take a bite out of the Lions? It’s time to #FearTheFin!
Image: Andy Chubb