The first of those overtime games was in the BBL Trophy, as the One Health Sharks Sheffield avenged last week’s league defeat to the Glasgow Rocks by beating them 84-81. BJ Holmes led all scorers with 25 points, supported by a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds from Mike Tuck and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Demetrius Jemison.
The pendulum was swinging in the first half as, initially, the Sharks used a 14-1 surge to lead 25-14 after ten minutes, before the Rocks hit back in the second quarter rattling off 15 straight points sparked by consecutive three-pointers from EJ Harrison and Wedemire, to lead 31-33. And the Rocks held that lead through to 38-41 at the half time break.
But the teams could barely be separated throughout the second half, tied at 59 after the third quarter and at 67 heading into the final minutes. But Wedemire and Harrison hit consecutive triples to give the Rocks what looked like a decisive 67-73 lead with one minute to play. The Sharks scored the last 6 points, going 6/6 from the free-throw line to tie the game with Holmes scoring 4 of those.
The overtime period remained almost as tight, although the Sharks established a slight edge that they wouldn’t relinquish. From 76 each, Holmes and Jemison scored consecutive baskets and Jemison was there again after Harrison had responded with a three-pointer. Down the stretch, the Sharks led by 1 and BJ Holmes settled the game with a pair of free-throws as Fantazia and Robinson missed baskets for the Rocks.
Elsewhere, the Surrey Heat strengthened their position in third place in the BBL Championship after a 91-97 overtime victory on the road at the Worcester Wolves. The Heat were inspired by 22 points and 8 rebounds from Sam Cricelli and 21 points from Chavis Holmes. Alex Owumi, for the Wolves, led all scorers with 30 points.
But it didn’t always look that way as the Wolves raced into a 15-4 lead after just three minutes, scoring first 5 points. But the Heat scored the last 4 points of the first quarter through Julius Joseph and Sam Cricelli, and that gave them a platform at the outset of the second quarter as they opened with a 10-4 push to tie the game at 27, with Cricelli and Joseph opening that run. The Heat would not be held back as McLemore broke a tie with a triple and they extended their lead to 38-45 as Albert Margai added a three of his own with the last score of the half.
The Heat maintained their lead all the way through to the fourth quarter before the hosts opened the decisive stanza with an 11-3 burst with Carlos Fernandez scoring 4 in a row to tie the game and Sam Ocitti netting a three-pointer for a 72-69 lead. The game remained tight, and McLemore tied it with a triple with three minutes to play, and it remained a one possession game all the way to the end. The Wolves might have thought they’d won it when they scored 4 in a row and a pair of Kai Williams free-throws made the score 83-80 with 26 seconds left. But the Heat were not done, as Sam Cricelli tied the game with a three-pointer for the last score to force overtime at 83 each.
Once in overtime the Heat used that momentum to immediately establish, and hold, a decisive lead. They scored the first 6 points with McLemore and Chavis Holmes opening proceedings. Chavis Holmes added two free-throws soon after to make the score 84-91 and, despite 5 points in a row from Kai Williams to make it a one possession game again, the Heat remained resolute with Holmes and McLemore scoring their final 6 points and keeping the hosts at arm’s length.
Elsewhere, the Newcastle Eagles swept aside the Mersey Tigers – winning 121-58 – to move clear of the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders at the summit of the BBL Championship table. The Eagles had seven players in double-figures, led by a massive double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds from Darius Defoe and supported by 21 points from Charles Smith and 16 for Joe Chapman.
The Eagles scored the first 10 points including consecutive three-pointers from Charles Smith and Joe Chapman, and the result was never in doubt as the lead became 18-2 midway through the period. The Tigers stemmed the flow before Defoe and Kareem Maddox did damage inside – the latter scored 7 points to help the lead to twenty at 36-16, an 11-2 start. And from there it just grew, going through the half century at 91-38 as they scored 38 third quarter points.
Finally, the eleventh placed Durham Wildcats edged closer to the BBL Championship Playoffs with a surprise 81-98 demolition of the UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders in the South West. The Wildcats led for most of the game as Brad Guinane inspired them with eight three-pointers on his way to 32 points; Keith Page scored 21 and Andrew Keister scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Raiders had held an early lead until Durham hit 7 in a row to take a lead that they would maintain. In the second quarter Guinane hit 8 consecutive points, including two three-pointers, to make their lead 23-34 and he had 21 points in the first 15 minutes. The Wildcats then maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half, for perhaps their most impressive victory of the season so far.
Photos – MPhotography
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