Sharks seek to end a long wait for BBL glory

Head coach Atiba Lyons leads his Sheffield Sharks into the BBL Play-off final on Sunday. (Picture: Dean Woolley)

Head coach Atiba Lyons leads his Sheffield Sharks into the BBL Play-off final on Sunday. (Picture: Dean Woolley)

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Sheffield Sharks are out to end a 12-year wait for British basketball’s greatest prize tomorrow.

For the Sharks play Leicester Riders at The O2 in front of the BBC cameras in the BBL Play-off Final.

After a slow start and a season disrupted by injuries and player turnover, Sharks’ 10-game winning streak propelled them up the BBL table to an eventual finish of third.

Impressive play-off victories against London Lions and Glasgow Rocks followed as Atiba Lyons’s men booked their first Molten BBL Play-Off Final appearance since 2011, despite the continued absence of Colin Sing and Patrick Horstmann.It will be the seventh time these teams have met this season, with Riders seeking to add to their 2013 crown while Sharks last lifted this prize in 2004.

Sharks forward Antone Robinson said: “Coming through a tough season to reach the final shows that this team has a lot of character and mental toughness and pride in getting through adversity.

“I expect it to be a hard-fought, interesting, physical game. We just have to come focused. Anything can happen.

“To win the play-offs would mean a lot and just put the icing on the cake so to speak with everything we’ve been through. I think we’ve had a pretty good season to this point.”

Sharks coach Atiba Lyons added: “We know Leicester now pretty well.

“We’ve played them a lot this season and they’re tough.

“Defensively they’ve given up the least amount of points. They have so many weapons and they’re playing really well.

“They’ve been in this position before. It’d be silly to think we’re not underdogs but we’re a proud team and on any given day, if we put it together, we can do it.”

Close to 15,000 fans attended last year’s final and as well as another good crowd expected, the game is also available to watch live on BBC via the red button and BBC Sport online.

American guard Kyle Odister believes the Sharks can now complete their ultimate season goal.

“It was the goal from the beginning of the season, so winning a Championship heading into the off-season would be considered a mission accomplished,” he said.

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