Season series: Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Sharks

Leicester Riders tip-off their 2024 British Basketball League Playoff campaign against the Sheffield Sharks on Sunday.

The sides have met on four occasions so far this season, the Riders winning the series 3-1.

Here’s how the games played out…

November 17 Game 1: Sharks 91-84 Riders

Sharks battle from the front to take hard-fought home win

Sheffield drew first blood in the series, winning a closely fought battle late on. The Sharks edged ahead in the second quarter, going into the half up 46-39, and the Riders, despite bringing the deficit to two on multiple occasions, couldn’t take the lead back. 

The Sharks’ Devearl Ramsey led the game with 22 points, scoring five in the final 2:33 to lead the hosts down the stretch and secure the win. He was backed by 17 points from Jalon Pipkins who went 7-8 from the field in the game. 

The Riders made a charge from down 10 to five with four minutes remaining, but couldn’t get it over the line. Miryne Thomas led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds- his first double-double in Riders red. 

A key difference in the game: three point shooting. The Riders went 5-21 while the Sharks shot 8-19, Ramsey leading the way with three makes from behind the arc.

But water found its level in game two from deep. 

December 30 Game 2: Riders 103-75 Sharks 

On-fire Riders torch Sharks from three

The Riders levelled the season series at home in convincing fashion to close out 2023. A 21-4 start blew the Sharks out of the water, and the Riders cruised home to a wire-to-wire win. 

Miryne Thomas led the team out the gate with 10 points in five minutes, and logged another 20 point double-double against Sheffield with 22 points and 10 rebounds by the final buzzer. 

But it was Teddy Allen, in his third game for the Riders, who led the game with 25 points. He went 4-9 from three on the game spearheading what was a red hot shooting night for the hosts.

In contrast to the first game against Sheffield in November, Leicester shot 51.9% from three point land in the blowout. It was the Sharks who went cold on this occasion, knocking down just 28.6% of their attempts from behind the arc. 

Prentiss Nixon had an effective outing for the visitors, bagging 17 points in 22 minutes of play, going 6-12 from the field. But it was a drop in the water against a Riders torrent, and Leicester entered the new year on a high. 

February 16 Game 3: Riders 108-94 Sharks

Allen explosion makes it two-for-two at home

Teddy Allen led the Riders for the second-straight game against the Sharks, this time going off for 35 points. It was a 35-12 double-double for Allen, shooting 50% from the field and 44% from three. 

The Riders were trailing 53-57 at the break and down by as much as 12 points in the second quarter. But a 12 point third period from Allen led them back into the tie, and another 10 in the fourth got them over the line. 

The scoreline was deceptive come the final buzzer, not reflecting what was a one possession affair with three minutes on the clock. Two straight buckets from TJ Lall gave the Riders separation, and they saw the tie out from there. 

Malek Green, making his first appearance against the Riders this season, led the Sharks with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He scored two buckets to start the final period, but Leicester were able to stem his scoring down the stretch to see it out. 

The game made it two wins at home for the Riders against Sheffield, giving them a 2-1 series lead with one game to play in South Yorkshire. 

March 29 Game 4: Sharks 85-88 Riders

Riders survive Sharks surge in final seconds

The game to decide the season series was fought wire-to-wire, Leicester coming away three point victors after Sheffield battled to give themselves a chance as the clock expired. 

Allen led Leicester in the first half with an emphatic performance, going off for 27 first half points, and finished with 29/8. But down the stretch, big buckets came from up and down the Riders’ roster. 

Kimbal Mackenzie, Thomas, Duke Shelton and Lall all scored in the final four minutes, giving the Riders an eight point lead with 2:18 left. But a turn of events, including an unsportsmanlike foul called on Shelton, gave the Sharks a chance to tie. 

Bennet Koch went one for two from the foul line after Shelton’s foul, and Ramsey drained a three with nine seconds left to make it a one point game. 

Mackenzie was sent to the line, and coolly knocked down both, but Sheffield could send it to overtime with a three. The opportunity fell to RJ Eytle-Rock who fired from the right wing, as Allen closed out but was keen not to foul. 

Eytle-Rock missed his attempt, and the rebound was pulled down by Thomas to close the season series. 

Tickets on sale!

Tickets for our home game against the Sheffield Sharks on May 4 are on sale now!

Get them here!