BBL play-offs: Mersey Tigers 79-74 Sheffield Sharks

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham
Mersey Tigers
The Mersey Tigers team celebrate completing the domestic treble

Mersey Tigers claimed their second successive play-off title with a 79-74 victory over Sheffield Sharks.

The Tigers, who were looking for their third piece of silverware this season, opened the scoring through Jamal Williams and never lost their lead.

MVP James Jones netted 15 points to help them to 42-35 at half-time.

They went on to open up a 14-point gap and despite Ryan Patton leading a second-half fightback for the Sharks, the Tigers held on.

Tony Garbelotto's side, who had already won the trophy and regular-season title, were out to avenge their heavy BBL Cup defeat by Sheffield back in January.

The Tigers' defence put in an impressive show this time round and the Sharks' key man, Steve Dagostino, was restricted to just five second-half points compared to the 35 he netted in the cup final.

Jamal Williams' opener, followed by scores from David Aliu, Andrew Thomson, Tafari Toney and Nate Reinking, immediately put Sheffield on the back foot and they found themselves 23-17 behind in the first quarter.

James Jones
Tigers' James Jones was named MVP

Sharks' Paul Williams, who claimed 17 points in total, reduced the gap to two early on in the second quarter but Jones' trio of three-pointers gave Tigers a seven-point advantage at the break.

Sheffield continued to plug away after the restart, with points from Michael Tuck, coach Atiba Lyons and Marcus Stout, but the Tigers responded every time and the final piece of play in the third quarter saw Perry Lawson and Tuck exchange three-pointers to leave it 54-48.

Reinking's basket in the final quarter opened up a 10-point gap but the Tigers were penalised for fouls on several occasions allowing Patton to convert consecutive free throws.

But Jones was on hand to net his fifth three-pointer of the match and Aliu added a field goal to make it 70-58.

Despite the gap, the Sharks never stopped fighting and blistering post-to-post sprints from Patton resulting in three three-pointers gave them hope but late efforts from Reinking and Toney, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, sealed the win for Tigers.