Sheffield Sharks suffer play-offs exit

Sheffield Sharks’ season came to a shuddering halt as they crashed to defeat in the second leg of their BBL play-off quarter-final with Glasgow Rocks at Ponds Forge last night.

Leading by seven points after a 73-66 win in Glasgow on Friday night, Sharks were beaten 96-72 on Sunday night to lose 172-155 on aggregate.

Sharks were missing influential guard Rodney Glasgow Jr through a groin injury sustained on Friday and Antwain Johnson who went down two weeks ago and the full-strength Rocks took full advantage.

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Rocks came out hot and opened with a 9-1 lead to immediately erase the deficit and they closed the opening quarter trailing by only two points. In front of the Sky Sports cameras, Sheffield struggled to put consistent scoring runs together and trailed by five on aggregate at half-time.

Sharks coach Atiba Lyons. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The third quarter was their strongest of the game and by the end of it, Atiba Lyons’s side – who finished second in the regular season matching their best finish for eight years – led the tie by two points.

But Glasgow pulled away in a dominant fourth quarter in which the team who finished the regular season in seventh outscored the Sharks 26-7. Devante Wallace led the Sharks scoring with 19 points, Kipper Nichols added 15 and Jordan Ratinho 13.

Head coach Lyons said: “I don’t feel frustration, I feel pride, pride in the guys’ performance.

“We’re essentially missing our backcourt (Glasgow and Johnson) and that’s 30, 40 points easily, so to even be up after that first leg showed tremendous fight and heart. The roster performed as well as they could for a game and a half but missing two primary scorers was difficult.

“Over the course of the game we got a little bit tired not having that depth at point guard, guys like Kipper stepped up and played point guard but we don’t necessarily have that flow with him in that position. We kept fighting with a lot of injuries and this last moment was my proudest moment with these guys.”