The DBL Sharks will be hoping for a ‘Good’ Friday as one of the BBL’s form teams comes to the EIS in search of a Playoff place. The Bristol Flyers arrive in Sheffield needing to potentially win their remaining games to confirm their place in post-season having lost the head-to-head over their nearest rivals Surrey. For the Sharks, it is a case of continuing on from performances such as the one in Manchester where an exquisite shooting display blew away the home side as the end of season dance draws ever nearer.
The Flyers hold a 14-16 record at present but have won their last three games. They took down Leeds Force on April 1st by 85-77 and then went on to back to back wins over Cheshire by 91-78 at home and by 89-83 on the road last Sunday. Bristol Coach Kapoulas has got his team peaking at the right moment and it very much a team affair. Hameed Ali led the way in Cheshire with 19 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, closely followed by Mike Vigor (18 points 8 rebounds) with three other team-mates also putting up double figure scoring. Friday night at the WISE Arena saw Aaron Cosby compiling 24 points as the effective Ali weighed in with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists as again 5 Flyers hit double digits. Cosby and Ali have been the Bristol stand-outs but as previously mentioned, this is a team affair and Andreas Kapoulas has all his roster answerable to the system. Daniel Edozie (11 point 10 rebound on Friday) lends physical presence to the Flyers along with Mike Vigor. There have also been solid contributions from Brandon Boggs and Leslee Smith and able support from long-time Bristolians Roy Owen and Greg Streete. The Flyers are growing into one of the most credible outfits in the BBL both on and off the court and appear to have form and momentum on their side as they look to ensure their campaign doesn’t end with regular season.
There were seeds of improvement following the Sharks off-night in front of the cameras against Glasgow a fortnight ago. The team were in front of the bright lights again last Friday against champions-elect Leicester and although an 80-71 defeat was the end result, it was clear to see the energy and passion was back. The Sharks carried this on in spades on Sunday over in Manchester with a crushing 58-92 win over the struggling Giants. Coming up trumps on both nights were the Sharks ‘R Attack’ of Rashawn Rembert and Malcolm Riley. Rembert made 21 against the Riders and then a superlative 27 against Manchester before sitting mid-way through the fourth. Riley took a little while to get going on both nights but soon found his rhythm and came away with 20 and 19 points respectively, again being effective with the three ball. The form of these two is clearly very important to the Sharks but a solid unit behind them is growing with Mike Tuck, Tony Wroblicky and Colin Sing taking care of the muscle work. Also worthy of mention is the time being afforded to Eddy Brownell, who achieved his best points haul in Manchester, and Marko Backovic, who is adding to that defensive unit. The final three games will see the Sharks jockey for position to see who their Playoff Quarter Final opponents will be. Leicester and Worcester appear to be the form teams of the moment but one can ill afford to neglect the chances of Newcastle. Despite the intrigue around potential opposition, the Playoffs are an end of season reflection where you will need to beat the best to succeed, be it in the quarters, semis or final itself. As ever, that there momentum is key and Atiba Lyons will be aiming for three wins from three before we go into the dance.
It’s the best possible way to start the Easter Weekend! This Good Friday at the EIS, the DBL Sharks welcome a hungry Bristol Flyers side, looking to book their place in the Playoffs. In their way will be Atiba Lyons, Mike Tuck, the whole Sharks team and you! As ever we need your support to cheer the guys through to the end of season playoffs. Chances are running out to see your DBL Sharks so buy your tickets now. Remember online sales close on Thursday due to the Bank Holiday. It’s time to be ‘eggcellent’ SharkNation!
Image: Sharks Team Photographers