For even though they sit on a record of 14-13 in the BBL Championship this term – improved to that mark with a dramatic double overtime victory over Worcester Wolves at Ponds Forge yesterday – it has been enough to secure qualification for the end-of-season play-offs for a 26th successive time.
It is a feat unmatched in the history of the British basketball’s elite tier, even by the likes of Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders, who might have won more trophies in recent seasons, but have not come close to the level of competitiveness achieved by Sheffield, year after year.
“It demonstrates the consistency with which we approach things,” said owner Yuri Matischen, the man who founded the club as the Forgers back in 1991 before changing the name to the Sharks in 1994, at the start of this run.
“We have always prided ourselves on stability. The main individuals have been here for several years.
“Within the financial constraints we work in we have always managed to stay competitive.
“We could finish fourth, fifth or sixth this year, but wherever, to be in a position to have made the play-offs 26 straight years, and from the get-go, is remarkable – no other club is even close to that number.
“In a minority sport to have that sustainability is a source of great pride. What you find is some teams are here one minute and gone the next.
“The venues we have in Sheffield have been massively helpful and we look forward to moving into our own facility to continue the story.”
Head coach Atiba Lyons is one of those mainstays, now in his 12th season in the job. Lyons said: “It’s one of those things that goes unnoticed but it all points to sustained success.”
Sharks secured play-off basketball with an overtime win at Bristol on Friday and went into extra time again yesterday, coming from 12 points down deep in the fourth quarter to tie Worcester at 69-69 on Kipper Nichols’ three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left. Antwon Lillard then sunk a three-pointer as time expired to clinch a 91-88 victory after double overtime.