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Season Review: Sheffield Sharks

Sheffield started full of promise, but it was ultimately a disappointing season for the Sharks, who relinquished their BBL Cup title.

Final Position: 7th
Season Record: Played – 30 Won 13 – Lost – 17
Points: 26
Play-Offs: Quarter Finals

The Sheffield Sharks began their 2011/2012 BBL campaign in scintillating style, picking up four wins from four group games in the BBL Trophy. Consecutive 66-62 and 86-84 victories over Cheshire Jets, coupled with a 99-56 and 84-81 overtime win against Mersey Tigers, meant that the Sharks comfortably topped their BBL Trophy group and qualified for the quarter finals.

Sheffield kicked off their BBL League season with an impressive away victory against Guildford Heat at Surrey Sports Park, 86-75 the final score. After five wins on the bounce, excitement was high in the Sheffield camp but they were suddenly brought crashing back down to earth in alarming fashion when they suffered five straight defeats. The dismal run started with a couple of defeats to Newcastle Eagles, home and away, and continued when they were knocked out of the BBL Cup at the first time of asking by Plymouth Raiders who picked up a tight 85-83 win. Glasgow Rocks and Leicester Riders also took advantage of Sheffield’s slump to pick up victories of the Sharks as well.

Sheffield’s erratic form did not end there as they returned to winning ways with four straight wins. Sheffield beat Worcester Wolves by just a single point before Justin Dobbins and Mike Tuck helped themselves to 20 points each as the Sharks beat Durham Wildcats 93-77 in the North-East. MK Lions came to Sheffield next and left with nothing as the Sharks comfortably came out on top 85-66. Another win against Durham followed as Atiba Lyons’ men were on the up again.

The long trip north to Glasgow proved a disappointing one as the Rocks beat the Sharks 72-64 but Sheffield managed to bounce back with a 90-77 win over Cheshire Jets. Guildford Heat and Newcastle Eagles both picked up wins over Sheffield but a one point win over Worcester Wolves was the perfect preparation for a BBL Trophy semi-final against Newcastle Eagles.

The first leg, played at the EIS, went the way of Newcastle. The Eagles won 116-84 to give Sheffield the massive task of overturning a 32 points difference in the second leg. Sheffield lost 74-64 to Leicester Riders before facing Newcastle in the second leg of their BBL Trophy semi-final. Joe Chapman scored 31 points as the Eagles won comfortably 104-84 to book their place in the Trophy final.

Plymouth Raiders defeated Sheffield in the league before back to back wins against Guildford Heat and MK Lions boosted the Sharks hopes of finishing in a play-off position. Their up and down form continued with a 79-71 defeat to Mersey Tigers followed up by a 97-86 loss to Leicester. Their third match in a week gave them the opportunity to exact revenge on Mersey after their recent defeat and they did exactly that with a 99-82 win.

Sheffield finished the month of March with four defeats in five. These came in the form of losses to Plymouth, Worcester, Mersey Tigers, who they were playing for a third time in the same month, and Cheshire Jets. A 92-84 win over MK Lions was sandwiched in between these disappointing results.

April started much better for Sheffield as they beat Durham 79-73 before losing to Glasgow Rocks 83-76. Sheffield bounced back to continue their fight for a play-off place with a 102-99 win over Plymouth Raiders. This win confirmed their place in the play-offs and defeat to Cheshire Jets in the final league game had no impact on their play-off qualification.

The play-offs ended for Sheffield before they’d even really got going with a 1st leg quarter-final 92-76 defeat to Leicester. The glimmer of hope they had from the first leg result was quickly diminished as Leicester took no prisoners with a 90-65 second leg win to end Sheffield’s season prematurely.

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