Basketball: Sharks must be more ruthless

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The Independent Online
"Tough it out.'' That's the message from the Sheffield Sharks coach, Jim Brandon, to his players as they try to snatch the Budweiser League title from Exide London Towers and hold off the challenge from the Leopards, Peugeot Birmingham Bullets and Chester Jets.

After his team beat Towers 100-93 on Thursday night, in the first of four matches involving the leading quintet in a week, Brandon said: "You can have all the class and finesse going, but they won't win you anything.

"I've tried to convince my players all season that to win you have to play tough until the end, and against Towers they showed the message is getting through."

By contrast, the Towers coach, Kevin Cadle, fears his players are losing the plot. "I knew I could count on my previous teams having the determination to win. But I can't count on that with this crew."

He reserved his most stinging criticism for the American Danny Lewis and his fellow guard Karl Brown, an England international. "The decision- making wasn't there against Sheffield and my guards are competing with each other," Cadle added.

Alan Cunningham limped out of Thursday's game with a knee injury but is fit to face Birmingham tomorrow, although Towers have lost the American Joe Hooks for the rest of the season with a groin injury. Sharks travel to Chester tomorrow and are at home again to London on Wednesday. The leaders, Leopards, visit Thames Valley Tigers tonight.