Nate Reinking and Olu Babalola dominated the scoreboard with their sensational scoring displays in a hard fought 90-77 victory over the Cheshire Jets.
The Sharks were missing two key players prior to the game. Justin Dobbins was ruled out with a back injury and Jimmy Langhurst remains in the states due to problems with his visa. However, the Sharks pulled together as a team to seal the win. Coach Atiba Lyons said he was pleased with how his men responded to the task that was in front of them.
‘It was a very good game. It’s hard to know what to expect when we have our backs against the wall. We were down two key players but our guys responded they did what I asked of them and we came out with the result.’
Lyon’s opposite number John Lavery admitted his side were lacking but they did their best tonight.
He said: ‘We had guys out there that were running on one leg, guys that were ill etcetera but we are not going to put that down as any excuse. My guys gave me what they could give me and unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.’
Reinking was in perfect form during the first half scoring 23 points scoring seven out of eight from the field which included four from 3-point range. He scored a quickfire seven points for the Sharks to gain a slender advantage at 13-12. Reinking proved he had the hot hand tonight when he extended the Sharks lead with back to back triples at 20-16. Reinking’s precision shooting was the core of the Sharks 9-0 burst that finished the opening quarter with the Sharks in front by double digits at 26-16.
The start of the second quarter saw the Jets fight back as back to back points from Matt Schneck and Bill Cole cut the deficit to four at 32-28. It didn’t remain close for long as Babalola and Reinking combined for 10 straight points in a 13-4 surge finishing on a Babalola triple at 49-38. The Jets lost their cool in this quarter with Coach John Lavery and Adam Brown sending the Sharks to the line after both receiving technical fouls. Reinking scored three out of four from the stripe to increase the Sharks advantage to 52-40 at halftime.
Cheshire improved in the second half with Schneck and Dan Briglia sinking a three point dagger to open the scoring. Lavery’s side then trimmed the Sharks lead to seven points with Bill Cole scoring from long distance. This didn’t worry the Sharks as they piled on the offensive pressure to remain in front. Babalola beat the buzzer scoring a three pointer to regain a double digit advantage at 73-62 heading into the final period.
Poor rebounding punished the Jets in the final quarter as Babalola and Mike Tuck out-muscled the defence to extend their advantage. Babalola finished the game as the high point man with 27 points as he scored his final basket for the night. Zach Gachete then finished with some flare as his showboat dunk rounded off a great start to the new year for the Sharks.