Leeds Force aiming to bounce back after Shark attack – Sayers

Sheffield Sharks' manager Atiba Lyons.
Sheffield Sharks' manager Atiba Lyons.
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Leeds Force couldn’t quite get it done versus Sheffield Sharks as we lost 85-71.

On our last game before Christmas, we wanted to finish on a win. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Sheffield Sharks travelled to the Carnegie Sports Arena on Friday night to take on Leeds Force for the first time in the regular season and they were also hungry for the win.

Sharks came out aggressively at both ends of the floor and made it difficult for us to establish a rhythm. Their in-your-face defence helped them open up a 10 point lead by the end of the first quarter (23-13).

The second quarter followed suit as Force’s offensive struggles continued with us netting only 11 points.

The game seemed to be getting away from us as the half-time score stood at 42-24 to the visitors.

We headed to the locker room to regroup and try to muster something for a second-half comeback.

We’d had comebacks from deficits like this before so we knew we were capable of putting big runs together. With this in our minds, the second half commenced. As if we’d just flipped a switch, we started to find our feet and the gap between the teams was shrinking.

By the end of a thrilling 28-point third quarter for the Force, Sheffield’s lead was only seven points (59-52).

The fourth quarter was set to be an exciting one and for the opening few minutes, it was! The teams remained close until the Sharks, aided by 16 free-throw attempts, began to pull away. The final score was 85-71.

Force’s top scorer on the night was Kwan Waller, who finished with 23 points. Louis Sayers and DeAndre Bullard also added 14 and 12 points respectively.

Other news around the BBL this week includes the Newcastle Eagles securing their place in the BBL Cup final after a 213-181 aggregate win over the Cheshire Phoenix.

They will face Leicester Riders in the final on January 17, and it won’t be the first time they’ve met in a final.

Also, the Plymouth Raiders lost by just one point in an overtime thriller versus their local rivals the Bristol Flyers on the back of 29 points from Flyers’ guard Cardell McFarland. Then, just two days later, Raiders took a trip to the Copper Box to play the London Lions and were a part of yet another overtime game!

This time though, they came out on top in a high-scoring battle (114-104).

It has been a tough few weeks in the lead up to the Christmas break but we’re going to make the most of some much-needed rest and recuperation and come back stronger. Our push for the play-offs will be well underway when we come back and it starts against Manchester Giants on December 27!

From myself and everyone here at Leeds Force, I’d like to just say ‘thank you’ for your support in the first half of the season and we very much look forward to seeing you all in the second half!

Tre Bennett.

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