Abita Lyons and his Sheffield Sharks made a trip across the Pennines to the National Basketball Performance Centre to take on Lloyd Gardner and his Manchester Giants. It proved to be a feisty affair on this derby day in the BBL Championship.
A trio of free throws made by Jamell Anderson opened tonight’s scoring followed shortly by a thunderous pair of blocks by team GB captain Dan Clark. Early fouls from Manchester brought the Sharks within a few possessions but with some intense lockdown defensive displays the Giants were able to maintain a four point lead to end the first quarter.
Giants kept their 4 point lead early on into the second quarter however, momentum shifted like a pendulum into Sheffield’s favour as the quarter carried on and they found themselves ahead by as much as 7. That lead did not last long though as the Giants battled back and made it a back and forth contest for the lead that saw multiple lead changes as both teams entered the final minute of the half where Manchester found themselves in a familiar position being ahead in this contest. Martaveous McKnight put the exclamation point on an astounding second quarter comeback with a three from downtown, a buzzer-beater that put the Giants ahead by 6 going into the locker room.
Giants further extended their lead to 8 in the opening minute of the quarter only to have the lead cut back down slightly by Sheffield who throughout the third quarter have continued to remain a few possessions behind, showing tenacity and determination to stay in this ball game. So far, that has been met by Manchester who matched tenacity and determination with efficient scoring and took their lead to double digits for the first time in this game and managed to keep their noses in front as they finished the third quarter up by 6 once again, shades of the quarter before.
Jordan Whelan and a quick-fire three set the ball rolling for the final quarter of play as Manchester and Sheffield continued to battle on with Lloyd Gardner’s men keeping their lead intact for most of the quarter fluctuating between a two or three possession lead. Sheffield did close the gap even more however as they brought themselves within touching distance and made it a single possession game. A Tyrik Armstrong lay up extended the lead back to 4 which was quickly met by a Jonathan Williams three and before anyone knew it the score was 88-87.
A last second set of scrambles and a Manchester turnover gave Sheffield possession with 6.7 seconds left. The inbound finds its way to Rodney Glasgow JR who’s floater seals it at the death.
Jamell Anderson led the team in scoring this evening finishing with 23 points and also managed to grab a plethora of rebounds and a trio of assists to his name.
Martaveous McKnight also had an impressive night on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as he finished with 18 points on 42% from the field. He also led the team in steals as he picked up a trio of steals.
Words – Michael Blain
Photo – All Sports Photography