The Jets have jumped into the BBL Championship playoff spots after inflicting a third straight defeat on the One Health Sharks Sheffield, 72-78 at the English Institute of Sport. That result levelled the head-to-head between the teams, with the deciding game to come on the final day of the regular season.
Adam Brown turned in a match-winning performance with 22 points and 7 assists, with Matt Schneck adding 16 points and 7 rebounds. The Sharks were led by a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds from Mike Tuck.
It didn’t always look that way as the Sharks dominated the first half. After Bill Cole scored the opening basket of the game for the visitors, the Sharks led throughout much of the first half once Tuck’s early three-pointer put them 5-2 up and they led 9-4 when Langhurst stole the ball and broke away for a lay-up. Matt Schneck scored 8 straight points for the Jets as they took the lead back at 11-12, but that was the last time they would see it before the break as the Sharks held their visitors scoreless for the final three and a half minutes of the first period, taking a 16-12 lead on Langhurst’s three-pointer.
The teams traded baskets through much of the second stanza, although the Sharks allowed the Jets back in at 26-24 as Brown scored four quick points. But it was from there that the hosts really seized control: another two and a half minute defensive shut out enabled the Sharks to score 9 straight points – with Olu Babalola scoring the last 5 – as the first half lead peaked at 35-24. The Jets got it back to 37-30 by the half way point, to provide some clues as to what would come.
And it all went wrong for the Sharks immediately after the break as the Jets opened with a 9-2 surge to tie the game at 39 on Brown’s triple. Babalola temporarily stemmed the flow, but the Jets soon found themselves leading for the first time since the opening quarter when Schneck scored a pair of free-throws. A Tuck three-pointer again halted the Jets, but not for long as Kai Williams and Adam Brown put them up by 4 at 45-49. But the Sharks were resilient and didn’t allow their visitors to get away as Langhurst scored 5 points inside the final two minutes to set up a tantalising fourth quarter at 52-53.
But there wasn’t much excitement early in the fourth as the teams shared just 9 points in over five minutes, the Sharks taking the lead at 57-55 on another Langhurst score, before finding themselves tied at 57. But that became a decisive 11-4 run for the Jets with Brown and Cole sharing 9 points as it was capped by a three-point play from the former. That left the Sharks with too much to do trailing 61-68 within the final two minutes, despite Ryan Patton narrowing the gap with a three-pointer. But they could get no closer as the Jets saw the game out with 8/12 free-throws down the stretch.
One Health Sharks Sheffield 72 (16,37,52) (Tuck 22, Langhurst 21, Babalola 17)
Cheshire Jets 78 (12,30,53) (Brown 22, Schneck 16, Williams 15)