Basketball: Sheffield move clear

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The Independent Online
THREE OVERTIME games on Saturday saw Sheffield Sharks take a clear lead at the top of the Budweiser League, with Derby Storm's unbeaten run grinding to a halt and Leicester City Riders sliding to the foot of the table after their third straight defeat.

Sheffield, delayed by motorway traffic, leapt out of the team bus already in their kit just three minutes before the scheduled start for their game against London Towers at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

The Sharks trailed at the end of the third quarter, but three-pointers from Travis Conlan, Terrell Myers and Michael Payne closed the gap in the fourth, before Matt Gaudio scored two free throws to tie the game on 76-76 at full time.

Gaudio then added nine free throws in the final period, the last two opening a 91-87 lead before a deciding three-pointer from London's Dwaine Morton took the final score to 91-90 for the Sharks.

Derby's four-game winning start ended in a 109-105 overtime defeat at home to Newcastle Eagles, who won their first game of the season.

Ralph Blalock scored nine of Newcastle's 13 points in the extra period after his team-mate Carl Miller had tied the full-time scores on 96-96 with two free throws.

Leicester still wait for their first win after a 106-101 overtime defeat at Worthing Bears. The Riders led 92-88 with only 19 seconds left in regulation time but Larry Coates forced overtime with a three-pointer at 94-94.

Gene Waldron returned to the Riders for the first time since breaking his leg in last January's cup final and gave them a 99-98 lead, but the Bears hit the next seven points. Jaron Boone led all scorers with 38 points for Leicester, but despite the return of Waldron the team are still lacking a point guard after being unable to re-sign Geno Ford, who has remained in America to obtain a masters degree.

Manchester Giants, inspired by a 25-point haul from Tony Dorsey, overcame Milton Keynes Lions 86-64.

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