BBL Match Report - Caledonia Gladiators seal first WIN against Sheffield Sharks away from home
The Caledonia Gladiators tough-it-out against a resilient Sheffield Sharks side away from home!
The Gladiators prevail 74-70 in a topsy-turvy affair at the Ponds Forge, leaving it late with two Darian Adams free throws sealing the W.
In the last encounter between the two sides, Jordan Harris scored 21 points in the first round of the 2021/22 BBL Championships Playoffs as we overcame a seven-point first leg deficit back in May.
The Sharks won the tip and Kipper Nichols got the game underway with a turn-around jump shot before Sloan opened the game up for the Gladiators.
The teams went bucket-for-bucket until the Sharks quickly capitalised on Caledonia’s missed shots and gathered a six-point lead, Fraser Malcolm putting the Gladiators up by one to make it 7-6 was the last lead for a while.
Despite the six-point lead, the first quarter finished 21-20 - advantage Sheffield.
A sluggish start to the second period saw only three field goals made in the first three minutes from both teams combined.
Just before the five-minute mark, Patrick Tape knocked down a free throw to give the Gladiators their first lead since the 7:04 mark in the first quarter. The moment was bittersweet as the Sharks took another six-point lead, but the Gladiators soldiered on and, after some back and forth, Princeton Onwas took matters into his own hands - a lay-up to tie the game, an and-one to take the lead and a three-pointer to make it a four-point climb for the Sharks to make on the verge of half-time.
The half-time score was 41-37 to Caledonia Gladiators.
The leading scorer in the first half was Kipper Nichols, Nichols got off to a hot start - eight points in the first quarter to 14 to close out the opening half. 6/10 (60%) from the field with a three pointer to make it sweet.
For the Gladiators, Jeremiah Bailey had nine on 4/6 (66%) field goals, Sloan, Fraser and Onwas all had six to finish the half.
The Sharks struggled in the first half as the Gladiators picked up a six-point lead, dominant defensively but even better offensively. The lead slowly dissolved as the Sharks got back into it but the Gladiators stayed resilient and calm as the lead was up to as high as seven at one point.
In the fourth period, Sheffield tied it back up at 58-58 but a perfectly executed fast break saw Jiminez alley-oop it to Onwas as he slammed it home with authority.
With Caledonia Gladiators having a slim 60-58 lead, both teams locked in on both sides of the ball resulted in a tense, low-scoring fourth quarter.
With the scale of leads fluctuating, both teams didn’t feel comfortable in the positions they were in but it was Gladiators who took the game by the hands and ran off until the very end. Sloan scored a layup and then made one of two free throws, with 11 seconds left on the clock, Ratinho, who was on fire from three, stepped up to take the lead but his three-point attempt missed and Darian Adams knocked down two free throws and sealed the victory on the road.
Jeremiah Bailey scored 15 points and was the top scorer for the Gladiators tonight, 7/12 (58%) whilst locking in on the other side of the floor with four rebounds, a steal and three blocks.
David Sloan also scored 14 points on 6/12 (50%) from the field with five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Kipper Nichols was the leading scorer for the Sheffield Sharks with 21 points on 9/16 (56%) shooting.
The Gladiators shot the ball far better than the Sharks, 30/58 (51%) from the field with 23/35 (65%) from inside the three point line and 7/23 (30%) from behind.
40 points of the Gladiators 74 points were from inside the paint and 22 points came from the Bench, Onwas lead the way from the sidelines.
The Gladiators take a 74-70 lead away from Sheffield to seal our first win of the BBL Championship. You can catch the Gladiators at our next game against the Cheshire Phoenix at the Chesire Oaks Arena on October 16th, or in our next home game against the Leicester Riders as we are out for revenge from the team who knocked us out of the play-offs on the 23rd of October!