SBL PLATE FINAL
MLS Sharks 47
WORKSOP ended their fourth season in style, winning the SBL Plate for the second time.
The men in white clinched a hard-earned victory in an entertaining final at the English Institute of Sport
Worksop had built up a 13-point lead early in the final period, but the experienced Sharks hit back to take the game to the death, as Worksop’s nerves appeared to get the better of them.
Sharks took the game to the final seconds, but Worksop hung on, much to the delight of their large and noisy following.
Player coach Steve Lawes was thrilled with the outcome.
He told the Guardian: “This is a fantastic way to end the year and I’m so pleased for our players who have worked so hard at every training session throughout the season.”
“I can’t say that it all came together tonight from a tactical viewpoint but in terms of effort, commitment and teamwork, the lads were faultless.”
It was Lawes who set Worksop on their way to victory with his best shooting display of the season during the first half.
Three Lawes jumpers countered two early threes from the Sharks as both sides employed zone defences early on.
Worksop were working the ball around superbly to find the spaces for the shots.
Brett Shelton and Luke Richardson both added long range twos.
Sharks, meanwhile, opted to try to work the ball inside but found little success as Mark Boot, Shelton and Lawes held firm at the back of the Worksop zone.
Out front, Richardson and Adam Kingswood forced Sharks into some hurried shots.
At the end of the first the score was tied at 10-10.
One of two at the line from Boot at the start of the second launched an 8-0 Worksop run, including a Shelton three-pointer and further jump shots from Lawes and Richardson.
Sharks hit back with a 6-0 run of their own before Lawes sank three more jumpers, including a three, to help Worksop to a 25-18 half-time lead.
Sharks switched to a man-to-man defence for the second half to try to deny time and space to the Worksop shooters, but this backfired initially as Worksop exploited the empty spaces under the Sharks basket.
Lawes and Shelton added close range scores and Kingswood completed a three-point play.
Kingswood then came to the fore to net a further six points for Worksop, including two breakaway lay-ups, but Sharks sank a three on the buzzer to peg the Worksop lead back to seven again at the final break, 40-33.
Richardson drove strong to the hoop and netted under pressure to open Worksop’s fourth quarter account.
Adam Drabble grabbed four quick points from close range to extend Worksop’s lead to 13 points.
Nerves and maybe tiredness now began to creep into Worksop’s play, and with the lead ebbing away, assistant coach Chris Days, called time-out.
A lucky three off the backboard reduced the deficit further and another time out was needed after Worksop turned possession over again.
This time the nerves were settled and Worksop stepped up the defence to claim a number of stops.
They failed to connect with their own shots though and another two brought Sharks back to 46-45.
The defensive effort remained superb and denied Sharks a clear sight of the basket thereafter. Sharks were forced to foul in their efforts to get the ball back and Worksop’s captain Shelton stayed cool to sink the decisive shots from the line in a frenetic final minute.
Sharks did manage a last two-pointer with seconds remaining only for Richardson to add another point for Worksop to seal the win.
Worksop: Lawes 19, Shelton 11, Kingswood 9, Richardson 7, Drabble 4, Boot 1, Clarke, Fagan, Penrose.