Sheffield Sharks’ season ends in narrow play-off loss

Sheffield Sharks’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion last night.

Sheffield Sharks' Kipper Nichols. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Sharks exited the BBL play-offs at the quarter-final stage by just two points after drawing the 
second leg with rivals Newcastle Eagles.

Eagles’ slender two-point advantage from Tuesday night’s 
79-77 first-leg win was enough 
to see them through to the last four.

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Sharks had built a 13-point lead at one stage at the neutral venue of Worcester but Eagles rallied in the third quarter and reclaimed the advantage.

In a dramatic conclusion which saw the aggregate lead change hands multiple times, Jeremy Hemsley put Sharks in front on the night and level on 
aggregate with a jump shot 
with just 8.2 seconds left on the clock.

But Rhamon Fletcher sunk a two-pointer with 0.7 seconds leaving Sharks without enough time on the clock to get the ball up the court.

Head coach Atiba Lyons said: “They’re a great group of guys. I’m proud of them and they did a great job.”

Kipper Nichols led the scoring with a BBL career high 20 points. Hemsley added 15, while Jordan Ratinho and Antwon Lillard added 12 points apiece.

There was similar disappointment for Worcester Wolves in last night’s other quarter-final second leg.

The Wolves, coached by former Leeds Force chief Matt Newby who steered them to BBL Cup success last season, went into the second leg with Plymouth Raiders trailing by only two points.

But the Raiders ran out comfortable 96-81 winners on the night.

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