Basketball: Stewart can bite back against the Sharks

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The Independent Online

Sheffield Sharks reluctantly lost the British Basketball League All-Star forward Lynard Stewart during the summer to London Towers, and they will have more cause to rue the switch tonight at Crystal Palace if he helps his new club stretch their lead at the top of the championship.

The 6ft 8in American had three productive seasons with the Sharks and, after a slow start, is compiling impressive statistics for the coach, Robbie Peers. Towers have a two-win lead over the Sharks, Brighton Bears and Chester Jets.

The Jets and Bears have two games in hand over Towers and Sheffield have one, and Peers needs Stewart to show his All-Star form for Towers to stay ahead of the pack.

Peers said: "Lynard has had three really good games. Everyone knows he has been under par, but I'm really pleased he's picking up his game. Hopefully, he has the extra incentive to perform against Sheffield."

Peers, though, is wary of facing one of his own former players, the powerful forward- centre Sterling Davis. Davis, who began last season with Towers before playing in Germany, has been a key factor in Sheffield's recent revival after an inconsistent start to the season. Peers said: "Sterling has a lot of quality. He's strong inside and outside so is hard to defend."

Second-placed Brighton play a BBL Trophy group game against Thames Valley Tigers tonight and will be out of the Trophy should they lose.