It was never really in doubt was it? Really? The DBL Sharks Sheffield were in devastating form to absolutely rout the Glasgow Rocks by 103-61 and ensure their proud record of always making the BBL Playoffs remained intact. The Rocks led on the opening play but were soon swept away by a display of high energy and unerring accuracy. The final weekend of the BBL regular season will shape who their Playoff Quarter Final opponents will be, but it looks highly likely that league champions, Leicester Riders, will be the visitors to the Tank on Saturday 5th May, barring a major upset.
Sharks: Alexander, McKnight, Tuck, Wroblicky, Gachette.
Rocks: Brown, Fraser, Hall, Murray, Britt.
Sheffield-born Will Hall opened the scoring for the visitors but that was about as good as it got for the Rocks. Mike Tuck’s ‘and one’ soon followed and despite Earl Brown’s throw down at 3-4, Glasgow were on the verge of being blown away. Dirk Williams’ three at 16-10 saw the Sharks put their foot on the gas and as the same player connected on Mackey McKnight’s 200th assist of the season, the Sharks went to a double figure lead at 20-10. A pair of Wroblicky buckets followed Williams’ second trey of the period and it took Achara’s buzzer beater to restore some Scottish pride as the quarter concluded at 29-16.
Williams and Bunyan traded threes at the top of the second but the Sharks juggernaut continued as yet another score from the UAB grad opened up a 40-21 lead with fully six minutes left in the half. Gachette’s dagger three increased the gap to 23 and that became 30 inside the final minute on Tuck’s triple. Marsden’s score ended the half at 56-24. The Sharks shot an incredible 83% from inside in the half and 71% from the field overall in a stat-fest that even NBA teams would be envious of.
Inevitably, there was a reaction from the Rocks in the third but by now, the damage was well and truly done. Hall (5) and Brown (6) saw the deficit reduced to a mere 25 inside the final three minutes of the stanza but yet another three ball out of the corner pocket from Williams saw the Sharks still well in charge by 77-48.
The fourth quarter even allowed the party pieces to come out. Williams finished an Alexander assist on the alleyoop and the Sharks were able to empty the bench. Not that this had any effect on the scoreboard activity as Eddy Brownell’s threes at 93-54 and 99-57, Jacob Cauthorn’s ‘and one’ play and Sol Rolls-Tyson’s drive into the paint that saw the Sharks go into three figures, put all the active players on the scoresheet. Indeed it was Cauthorn’s lay-up that finished the night with the Sharks confirmed in post-season by a momentous 103-61.
The Sharks field goal percentage slowed down to a ‘mere’ 61% by the end of the game. Chris Alexander fell just short of a double double with 17 points and 8 assists. Dirk Williams racked up another twenty point plus score, finishing with 25 on 10 of 18 shooting and his usual degree of the spectacular. The plaudits went two ways however. Mackey McKnight became the first to 200 assists this season with a statline of 6 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists and an efficiency rating of 21 aided by his 100% shooting. England captain Mike Tuck proved that the effects of jetlag from his exploits ‘down under’ were well and truly banished as he went 8 of 9 from the field and 2 of 2 from beyond the arc on his way to 20 points overall and 5 rebounds to boot. All ten Sharks made the scoresheet and banished their previous poor run of form in the most emphatic way possible.
Atiba Lyons was full of praise for his team and their high-energy display and emphasised his keen-ness to still be in the shake-up come May 20th (Finals Day).
DBL Sharks Sheffield at Plymouth Raiders, Sunday 29th April, Plymouth Pavilions, 4pm Start.