The DBL Sharks Sheffield booked a quarter-final berth in the BBL Trophy against Newcastle Eagles with a comprehensive 89-62 win over NBL Division One Manchester Magic. The Sharks controlled the fixture from 1.34 in and battled gamely in the face of determined offence from the Magic roster.
Sharks: Alexander, McKnight, Williams, Tuck, Wroblicky.
Magic: Gittens, Anumba, Goldsborough, Gill, Lewis.
It was American Donte Gittens who opened the scoring for the Magic but that was as good as the evening went for the Lancastrians. Mackey McKnight put the Sharks in front by 8-4 and it took corner treys out of opposing corners by Zach Gachette to put the Sharks ahead by 18-10. A huge Gachette throwdown ended the period in Sheffield’s favour with the score at a convincing 24-12.
Gachette continued his fine work at the top of the second with the score at 28-12 and it took veteran Stefan Gill to draw Manchester closer with the and one at 28-15. Lewis and Gill emphasised the Magic’s never-say-die spirit at 34-25 and despite solid work by Anumba (6 points), Gachette’s trey at 41-29 only further served to highlight the Sharks control of the tie. Gachette capped a decent contribution to close the half on 17 points at 47-31.
The livewire Gittens and Anumba pretty much killed the opening five minutes of the third period at 56-41 but only reduced the deficit by a solitary point. Gachette continued his efforts for the evening by finishing a spinning assist from Chris Alexander and went on to 22 points as the contest wore on. Moments later, Gittens finished an alley-oop and an Alexander trey concluded the third at 66-47.
The Sharks held Manchester at arms length for most of the final quarter. Dirk Williams found his shooting distance at 72-49 and Mackey McKnight’s triple on Wroblicky’s kick-out only further served to emphasise the gulf at 79-58. Darbey and Arindse concluded scoring for Manchester on the night and a Williams trey out of the corner pocket ended proceedings with the score at 89-62.
Unusually for Chris Alexander, he dished out 8 assists but only contributed 9 points on the night. Dirk Williams racked up a decent efficiency rating with 20 points, 3 steals, 3 blocks and 9 rebounds but it was the bench energy of Zach Gachette that won the day. He poured in 24 points with 5 rebounds and 3 assists in a second wave that booked a quarter-final contest for the Sharks on the road at old adversaries Newcastle Eagles.
Mackey McKnight spoke of a stuttering win for the Sharks (interrupted mid-flow by skipper Mike Tuck!!) as a quarter final place was booked in the BBL Trophy.
Worcester Wolves at DBL Sharks Sheffield, Wednesday 20th December 2017, EIS Sheffield, 7.30pm Tip-Off.
Image: Andy Chubb