Sharks’ Williams is too strong for Force

George Brownell.
George Brownell.
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Leeds Force crashed to another BBL defeat in Friday night’s Yorkshire derby, suffering a 107-79 defeat against Sheffield Sharks at Carnegie Sports Arena.

Force’s new signing Gazmend Sinani put the home side ahead, converting from close range as Leeds looked to avenge their October defeat against their local rivals.

The deadly Sharks countered with a flurry of quick-fire strikes in the opening five minutes, prising open a six-point advantage before an Adrian Kuyinu treble handed momentum back to Force. Sinani and Rafail Tsourakis bruised the Sheffield defence and narrowed the deficit with some strong finishes.

Sharks flexed their muscles with a devastating second segment opening, spear-headed by an unstoppable Dirk Williams. The American shook Carnegie Sports Arena with a soaring slam, before sinking consecutive threes to surge Sheffield into a double-digit lead.

Kuyinu’s conversion and Tsourakis’s long-range effort punctured Sheffield’s momentum and looked to have offered Leeds a lifeline heading into half-time.

Showcasing their offensive prowess, Sheffield poured on points with seconds remaining and extended their lofty lead to 18 over the fading Force at half-time.

Searching for the killer blow, Sharks turned to Williams and ex-Leeds captain Rob Marsden as Sheffield continued to ramp up the tempo.

A pair of triples from George Brownell sparked hopes of an unlikely Leeds comeback, before seeing his familiar foe and younger brother Eddy score with a marvellous finish.

Kuyinu injected some much-needed energy with a seven-point spurt but it only briefly delaying Sheffield as Sharks strolled to a dominant victory.