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Sheffield Sharks 86-76 Worcester Wolves

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2014 12:04pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Sheffield Sharks virtually confirmed the runner-up position in the final British Basketball League table with a 86-76 victory over Worcester Wolves on Wednesday.

With Newcastle Eagles already confirmed as BBL Champions, Sheffield and Worcester hold identical 26 wins and 5 losses records, but the Sharks stand a place above Wolves by virtue of possessing the head-to-head decider between the teams.

Even if Wolves win both of their last two games of the regular season, against Glasgow Rocks at the University of Worcester Arena this Friday, and at lowly Surrey United the day after, they will still be reliant on Sharks losing one of their last two outings, versus Plymouth or Manchester, in order to reverse the placings.

If the placings indeed stay as they are, Wolves will meet London Lions in the first round of the end-of-season playoffs, whereas the Sharks will face whoever finishes in seventh-place in the table.

The sides were evenly matched throughout the first half of Wednesday’s contest, tied at 20-20 at the end of the opening quarter, and still tied at 41-41 as they entered the half-time locker rooms. It was the third quarter where the outcome was decided, with Sheffield point guard [censored] Holmes coming to the fore. Worcester trailed by eight points with four minutes of the period remaining, and, after a series of turnovers, had allowed the gap to balloon to 68-55 by its end.

Wolves battled hard to reduce the deficit to a manageable six points with three minutes left in the evening, but another spell of carelessness with the ball saw the arrears doubled after just one further minute had elapsed. With insufficient time to mount another comeback, the visitors were resigned to leaving Sheffield empty-handed.

Worcester Director of Basketball Paul James gave his assessment of what took place, saying: “Sheffield made it a scrappy game and, unfortunately, we did not respond well to that. We got back into the match a couple of times by playing team basketball, but, when we went away from team ball, we went back down again. Having said all of that, I think we have also now seen the best of what Sheffield have to offer. If we end up playing them at some point during the playoffs, I’m confident we’ll perform much better than we did tonight.”  

Looking ahead to the visit of Glasgow on Friday, James commented: “We will need to be on our mettle as Rocks have their backs to the wall, scrapping to edge into a playoff place. We’ll watch tape of today’s game, learn from it, and make sure we come out ready to play.”

Zaire Taylor led the Wolves’ scorers with 27 points, backed up by 19 points from Will Creekmore and 14 points for club captain Alex Owumi. Holmes top-scored for Sheffield with 25 points. Ticketholders for Friday’s match at the University of Worcester Arena versus Glasgow (tip off 7.30pm), will also be entitled to free admission to watch Women’s International Wheelchair Basketball with Great Britain taking on Japan, (tip off 4.30pm). 

Standings as at Wednesday 16-April-14

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

33

28

5

56

2.     One Health Sharks Sheffield

31

25

6

50

3.     Worcester Wolves

31

25

6

50

4.     Leicester Riders

33

23

10

46

5.     Cheshire Phoenix

32

18

14

36

6.     London Lions

31

16

15

32

7.     Manchester Giants

31

13

18

24

8.     Plymouth University Raiders

31

13

18

26

9.     Durham Wildcats

31

12

19

24

10.   Glasgow Rocks

31

12

19

24

11.   Surrey United

31

4

27

8

12.   Birmingham Knights

32

0

32

 

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