After mid-week home wins against the Worcester Wolves and London Lions, Cheshire Phoenix continued their excellent run of form with a 67-57 victory over the Sheffield Sharks after a conclusive final quarter display.
Boasting an unchanged line-up from their 87-80 win against high-flyers London Lions, Cheshire went into the game in full throttle and would look to repeat their dominant 92-82 win over the Sharks back in December.
Both teams ended the First Quarter level, 19-19, with reasonable Field Goal percentages of 67% for the hosts and 50% from Phoenix respectably. Sheffield made the most of their uncontested shots from deep making five of nine attempted three point shots with Cheshire averaging 53% from two point range.
By the end of the half, Phoenix were narrowly up 34-33 after a highly engrossing first half that saw numerous lead changes and strong defensive hustle, with Cheshire scoring a superb five blocks and two steals in the second quarter alone forcing a bountiful of Sheffield turnovers.
Cheshire also credited forward and team captain Jaylen Hayes for surpassing the 1,000 BBL point mark with the following social media post highlighting this remarkable achievement:
1⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ @BBLofficial points!
A massive congratulations to our skipper, Jalen Hayes (@jjh4_), who has just scored his 1,000th point in the British Basketball League.
We are so lucky to have you, Jalen! 💛💙 pic.twitter.com/Q9LAotHb31
— Cheshire Phoenix (@CheshireNix) February 21, 2021
The third quarter kept the game at a tightly contested contest with Sheffield edging out Phoenix with a three point 48-45 lead. Both defences remained on top with Sheffield swatting away four shots and earning four steals which forced a total of six Cheshire turnovers in the quarter.
With the clock winding down Cheshire struck back with an electric scoring run that saw the visitors rack up a double digit lead as they saw off their capable challengers with a conclusive 22-9 scoring run.
Finishing the game with an overall field goal percentage of 43%, compared to Sheffield’s 35%, Phoenix took their shots well and made sure to draw fouls and convert the majority of their free throws, finishing with 12 finding the bottom of the bucket from 16 attempted shots.
There were renowned performances across the court but the ever energetic guard Kahron Ross stealing the show with 19 points (four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals) that saw him be named as one of four BBL players of the day.
Kahron Ross from WAY downtown!
— British Basketball League (@BBLofficial) February 21, 2021
After reaching his aforementioned personal milestone, Jalen Hayes also remained sharp on the floor with a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) as well as earning two assists and blocking three shots. Matthew Bryan-Amaning also impressed with 11 points being scored (seven rebounds, one assist and three block shots).
Cheshire now weigh up against one of the league’s finest teams with a 7:30pm tip-off away tie against former seven time league champions Newcastle Eagles who were previously defeated by Sheffield in the league ahead of their BBL Trophy semi-final tie against the London Lions later this evening.
It’s sure to be a strenuous game for the high flying Nix, but with confidence remaining high in the dressing room and with the team currently sat in a progressive fifth placed seed, the Nix will be sure to come out firing on all cylinders in the hopes of securing an astounding sixth league win a row.
(Photo courtsey of Phil Aspinall)