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Cheshire Phoenix vs Sheffield Sharks – Preview

by Vlad Ionasc

Cheshire Phoenix will return to regular season action against Atiba Lyons’ Sheffield Sharks later this evening. Ben Thomas’ men left Ponds Forge with a seven-point victory in the first game of the 2021/22 season, back in September.

The Nix are currently on an eight-game winning streak (all competitions) over the Sharks, a run which stretches across three separate seasons.

The Sharks will come into the building low on confidence following two double-digit losses against the Leicester Riders (62-100 L) and Manchester Giants (77-90 L).

GAME DETAILS

Date: Friday 14th January, 2022

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.

Competition: BBL Championship

Where: Ponds Forge

How to watch: BBL Player

SHARKS SCOUTING REPORT

Photo by Adam Bates

The Sharks have won five out of their first eight games in the BBL Championship.

Lyons’ side has a 2-2 record at Ponds Forge.

Sheffield lost their first two games of 2022, against the Manchester Giants and Leicester Riders.

As a team the Sharks are shooting 44.4% from the field, an eye-watering 39.3% from behind the arc and a sub-par 71.8% from the foul line.

The Sharks have the slowest offence in the league, as they’re currently attempting just 62 field-goals per game and averaging just 75 points.

Sheffield average the third most attempts from the free-throw line (17.8 FTA).

The Sharks rank just 9th league-wide in rebounds and assists, with 31 boards and 16.4 assists per game.

Lyons’ men take good care of the basketball, as they’re averaging just 11.4 turnovers per game, with only the Riders averaging less (10.4).

Jordan Ratinho leads the Sharks in scoring, with 12.6 points-per-game, while Rodney Glasgow Jr is just behind the American sniper, with 12.5 points-per-game.

Ratinho also leads his team in rebounding, with five boards per night. The 23-year old is Sheffield’s top marksman, as he’s currently shooting the 3 ball at a 55% clip.

KEY PLAYERS

Photo by Adam Bates

Sheffield Sharks: Devante Wallace — The 6’5 American guard has plenty of experience, having played in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Finland and Romania. Wallace established himself as an elite shooter in college as he made 42.4% of his three-point attempts whilst playing at High Point.

Cheshire Phoenix: Namon Wright — Phoenix’s leading scorer led the way last time out against Sheffield, as he totalled 21 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-7 from deep. Wright currently leads the Nix with 17 points-per-game in the BBL Championship.

Photo by Adam Day

COACH’S CORNER

Photo by Adam Day

Ben Thomas: “We have a huge weekend ahead of us! Obviously the first hurdle we have to clear will be tonight against Sheffield, a team that we’ve had a lot of success against over the last few seasons!

“It’s going to be a new challenge because of the roster change they made when they added Devante Wallace. He looks like a good player so it’s definitely going to be a challenge but if the guys stick to the game-plan and if we do the things that we know work against Sheffield then we can definitely get our weekend started with a good win on the road!”

NEXT HOME GAME

The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Glasgow Rocks (5:30 p.m. tip-off) in the BBL Championship on the 16th of January. Tickets are now on sale!

 

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