Sharks were beaten 92-82 to Cheshire Phoenix in the opening game of the BBL Championship, a defeat that was part of the first broadcast of the BBL’s two-year deal with Sky Sports.
Sharks have won four of their next five games since then to climb above Phoenix – who conversely lost four of the their subsequent five – into the top four ahead of tomorrow’s game in Cheshire. Sheffield have also bedded in scoring point guard Jeremy Hemsley, who was relatively new to the team back at the start of December, and Jordan Ratinho, who impressed so much on debut last week that he was named in the BBL’s team of the week.
“Of all the defeats we had in the early games, that was the one that really stung us,” said Lyons.
“But Cheshire will be playing a different Sheffield Sharks to the one they played in December.
“They shot 65 per cent in the first quarter and were something like six for six from three-point range. We got close in the second half but we’d left ourselves too much to do. It’s always easy to get a team prepared to play a team that’s recently beaten you, you don’t need much motivation.”
Lyons feels there is still much improvement to come from his evolving Sharks team but he was heartened by how quickly Ratinho – the American-Portuguese guard who suddenly became available when the German team he was playing for saw their season cancelled.
“Jordan had a great debut and we’d like to have more of that,” said Lyons about a player who added 17 points in just 26 minutes.
“It’s difficult to know what you’re going to get really; sometimes a player can come in and you see him in a game for the first time and think ‘oof what do we have here?’ and then he can end up being a great of the league.
“Not many come in and make the start Jordan made so it’s a promising start and one to build off.
“It’s also says a lot about our roster that he was able to come in and make that impact, they allowed him to come in and play his way. We have a very welcoming team.”
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