BASKETBALL Sharks' final flourish

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The Independent Online


Two minutes from the end of the regular season the destination of the Budweiser League championship remained in doubt last night. Then Sheffield Sharks, who had led the League since November, sprinted for the line with a 12-1 burst which gave them a 81-70 victory over Doncaster Panthers and the title in their debut season.

Defeat for Sheffield would have given the crown back to Thames Valley Tigers, who played their part in the closest championship in the League's history by beating Derby Bucks 111-86 on Saturday.

There was nothing more the Tigers could do but sit and wait. Their coach, Mick Bett, could not bear even that and last night (Sun) conducted a coaching session for children at the school where he teaches.

Doncaster were without their leading scorer, the American Chris Fite, but lived up to the demands of player-coach Mark Harvey who said before the game: "We won't lie down and let Sheffield have the title."

Although Doncaster trailed 38-32 at half-time a basket from Paul Bale gave them a 56-54 lead. But the scores were tied on 67-67 with less than three minutes to play and the stage was set for the Sharks.