A capital response to 2018 is required by the DBL Sharks Sheffield as they move into a new year of BBL basketball. Sunday sees a visit to the Copperbox Arena to take on a loaded but unpredictable London Lions. The Lions currently sit in sixth place with a 7-6 record but have a deep roster recently bolstered by ex-Plymouth big man Corey Dixon. For the Sharks it represents a chance to bounce back from a disappointing 77-81 home loss to Newcastle, where the team were more than a match for three quarters but unusually lacking in the third period.

London come into the contest having lost their last two games on the road but appear far more comfortable on home soil. Four of their seven wins have come at the Copperbox and the addition of Dixon adds another useful tool to their line-up. He had a monster 28 point 12 rebound double double in the 82-80 defeat to Surrey Scorchers on New Years Day. Also coming up big in that game was GB point guard Justin Robinson with 25 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists and with a little more support from the bench, the game was London’s for the taking. Robinson also poured in 18 points in the 76-69 defeat up in Glasgow prior to that. More indicative of what London are all about was the 95-67 televised win over Plymouth, where Joe Ikhinmwin hit 3 of 4 early three pointers in compiling 15 points, backed up by Peel (16), Dixon (13), Robinson (12), Guede (9) and Isenbarger (9). London were compelling in the Plymouth win, watched by the Sharks-own Mike Tuck, who was on commentary duty that day and games like that and the 86-70 win over Glasgow in early November are indicative of what they are capable of. The Sharks lead the series against the Lions by virtue of an 83-73 win at the EIS at the end of October and with London likely to be a close-rival for positions, a head-to-head would be most welcome.

It was a lean festive period for the Sharks and they will be looking to kick 2018 off on the right foot with victory in the capital. A six point third quarter cost them dearly against Newcastle. Even a twelve point quarter would have been below par, but would have seen the spoils go the Sharks way. The Sharks did enough to restrict the production of the high-scoring Jaysean Paige but saw the veteran wiles of Darius Defoe (17) and the solid work of Terry Martin (21) shine through in that third stanza. It is far from all doom and gloom with this bunch of Sharks still however. Six players contributed double-figure scoring. The Sharks avoided early foul trouble and saw Tony Wroblicky post a 10 point, 12 rebound double-double. Rob Marsden was particularly tough on the offensive boards and now needs just another two rebounds for 1000 in his career. Mackey McKnight added a useful fourteen points and Chris Alexander was assist-heavy with eight on the night. Skipper Mike Tuck continues to maintain that this is a potential silverware team and aside from momentary lapses, it is hard to disagree with him. Another streak, such as the one at the beginning of the campaign, would now be most welcome and underlined the clear potential that Atiba Lyons’ charges have.

Your DBL Sharks Sheffield visit the Copperbox Arena this Sunday 7th January for a 4pm tip-off. If you can’t make it to London, tune into www.livebasketball.tv to see the action unfold.

The Sharks are next at home on Friday 12th January when Surrey Scorchers are the visitors. To buy tickets for this game, go to:

http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?pid=8466655&agency=TDC_UK&campid=TDC_NEW_WWW_2013

Make it your New Year Resolution to join us for the ride and remember, it’s time to #FearTheFin !

Image: Andy Chubb