Jalon Pipkins commends competitiveness of British Basketball League after Sheffield Sharks edge out Surrey Scorchers
That is the verdict of Jalon Pipkins, the Sharks’ eye-catching offensive highlight reel after Sharks outlasted the Surrey Scorchers 81-78 in front of 900 fans at the Canon Medical Arena on Thursday night.
Pipkins hit 11 points including two show-stopping slam dunks as Sharks built a lead, then fell nine points behind, before rallying to take a two-digit lead only to then allow Surrey to pull within one and nearly pinch an upset win.
That Sharks hung on for fourth win in five in their new £14m arena and a seventh win in 12 in the league, spoke of their resilience.
"I told a lot of people before the season it’s not going to be a one-sided league, everybody’s got guys who want to win, compete and make a name for themselves, but we came out with the win,” said Pipkins, Sharks’ 24-year-old point guard from Texas.
"We took our foot off the gas at the end of the fourth quarter but other than that we played pretty well offensively. It’s a game of runs, you’re going to have those bad spells, but we showed resilience coming back from those bad spells and bad plays.
"Defensively we hold ourselves to a high standard and it wasn’t our best defensive performance, we move on to the next game.”
That next game is a five-hour bus trip to Caledonia Gladiators on Saturday night.
"They got us last time so we want revenge,” said Pipkins, who has established himself as a starter in his first full season in Sheffield.
"It was a nail-biter last time we played Caledonia and we’re going up there expecting to win.”
Head coach Atiba Lyons wants to see a step up in intensity and aggression from Thursday night if they are to go up to Glasgow for a second time this season and get a win, having lost in overtime in East Kilbride last month.
"They’re a quality team, in their place we didn’t play particularly well for three, three and a half quarters, but we had a good last five minutes to force overtime,” said Lyons.
"We’ve got to make sure we do a better job on both ends of the floor.”