Sheffield Sharks suffer heartbreak as they fail to grab basketball title

The Sheffield Sharks were left gutted after making a heroic comeback but being overtaken at the last second by Leicester Riders in the British Basketball League final last night.

The Sharks got off to a poor start with Leicester taking a 12-2 lead early on.

The first quarter ended 29-15 to Leicester, but Sheffield began to show their skill.

The second quarter had Leicester showing why they are the reigning champions by opening with a three-pointer from Walker and keeping momentum by taking a 16 point lead over Sheffield.

By the end of the first half, the Sharks were beginning to show their pace, narrowing the lead to down to 52-41.

The third quarter started with a series of frustrations for Sheffield, as Robertson and Walker were both benched after four fouls.

Leicester’s lead remained intact for the first part of the third before the Sharks charge brought it back to a five-point game.

The Riders quickly turned things around and brought back their ten-point lead before baskets from Tuck and McKnight kept the Sharks close to overtaking with a 73-64 score at the end of the third.

The Sharks made an onslaught by scoring 11 points in quick succession during the final quarter, bringing them into the lead for the first time.

The final quarter involved a painful clash between a cameraman and Sharks player Edgar McKnight.

Tony Wroblicky risked everything for Sharks after a foul, as they led 85-84 with 54 seconds of the game remaining.

It was a daring three-pointer from Leicester’s Robertson and enhanced by a free-throw from JR Holder that put the Riders five points clear at 90 with 30 seconds left.

The final hope for the Sharks was Alexander’s fantastic three-point shot which appeared to bounce out at the last second.

The shot would have bought the game into overtime, but it was not meant to be, and the final score was 85-90 to the Leicester Riders.

Sharks manager Yuri Matischen said: “It was a disappointing start, but it ended with an unbelievable finish. We’re up there with the very very best and the league easy extremely competitive this year.”

The Riders victory is their third consecutive British Basketball League title in a row.

Sheffield Sharks captain Mike Tuck said: “We are all a bit deflated today. We really wanted to bring some silverware back to Sheffield, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards for us this time.

“We are disappointed in the loss but not defeated. Our effort was encouraging and I hope this will light a fire in our underbellies to reach another final.”

The Sheffield Sharks last faced Leicester in the BBL final in 2013 where Sheffield was victorious.