Riley inspires Sheffield Sharks as Leeds Force fall to Newcastle Eagles

Jermaine Sanders led the Force with 31 points
Jermaine Sanders led the Force with 31 points
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Sheffield Sharks returned to winning ways in the BBL Championship as they won 93-78 at Cheshire Phoenix last night.

Malcolm Riley led the way with a 21-point haul from the bench with all five starters also in double figures for the Sharks – who did their damage in the third period.

Sharks led by as many as seven in a high-scoring opening period before the home side responded to take the lead at 22-21. Both teams continued to trade runs in the first half with Sheffield managing to edge ahead by one at the interval.

A 9-0 start to the third made it a double-digit advantage for the Sharks before Cardell McFarland later scored 10 unanswered points to put his side 71-54 up.

Cheshire began to mount a fightback and closed to within 11 in the fourth but a three from Colin Sing started a 7-0 run for Sheffield and the visitors were able to see out the victory from there.

Jermaine Sanders scored a huge 31 points for Leeds Force as they came as close as they ever have to toppling BBL heavyweights Newcastle Eagles, losing 91-86 last night.

Leeds have lost all seven of their games against the seven-time league winners and six-time play-off champions.

But they led going into the final quarter and were level at half-time yesterday at the Carnegie Sports Arena as Matt Newby’s side threatened an upset.

A strong third quarter which Leeds won 26-14, gave them a 12-point lead going into the final period, before the experienced Eagles soared back into contention and into a winning position with a dominant fourth quarter.

Sanders, a 24-year-old 6ft 5in small forward – recruited from America in the summer – led the way with 31 points, with Robert Sandoval adding 16 and Clayfell Harris and Rob Marsden chipping in with 11 points apiece.