Caledonia Gladiators starting five: Ian DuBose, Prince Onwas, Patrick Whelan, Lukas Palyza, Fahro Alihodzic.
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks starting five: Devearl Ramsey, Jalon Pipkins, Kipper Nichols, Jordan Ratinho, Bennett Koch.
The Gladiators started the better of the two teams in the opening two possessions. Fahro Alihodzic denied the Sharks’ first scoring attempt which set up Patrick Whelan for a strong left-handed layup.
Sheffield then began to dominate, with Devearl Ramsey scoring on time to beat the 24-second buzzer, followed by an uncontested three-point shot from Kipper Nichols, rounded off by a steal and slam by Jalon Pipkins, leading Sheffield on a ferocious 12-2 run.
The Gladiators closed the gap with Whelan adding a pair of free-throws, while Clifton Moore Jr. swiftly contributed six from the bench.
After a gritty first quarter, Sheffield’s three triples carved out a steady lead for the Yorkshire visitors, 12-17.
Caledonia exposed Sheffield’s defence in the second quarter, earning numerous trips to the free-throw line before the half.
A pair of decisive defensive stops from Trent Buttrick fuelled the Gladiators’ fast transition play.
Despite a strong Sharks start, the Gladiators made a staggering comeback, with Moore Jr. contributing 11 first-half bench points, the first player to reach double digits in the game.
Both teams traded impressive scoring runs, but Caledonia’s comeback hopes were boosted by a Lukas Palyza four-point play late in the second.
A late pair of scores for Ian DuBose provided Caledonia with their first lead of the game.
Gladiators found themselves ahead 36-35 entering half time, after being down by as much as 10 in the opening five minutes.
Prince Onwas sprang into action for Caledonia, making a layup down the middle before earning two separate trips to the foul line, converting all four attempts before the third quarter ended.
Enjoying a game-high seven-point lead, the Gladiators exercised caution as the Sharks found their deep shooting rhythm.
Ramsey connected a deep three on a precise pass from Bennett Koch, while R.J. Eytle-Rock made a solo three-pointer effortlessly.
A potent 9-0 run by the Gladiators, including a sharp assist from Mihailo Jovičić to Moore Jr., who remained a force off the bench, gave Caledonia their largest lead at 59-48.
Heading into the final quarter, Sheffield made a commendable effort to hit back, as Jubril Adekoya and Ramsey were able to gel for two consecutive buckets.
Buttrick and Sharks’ guard Parker Stewart traded baskets in the middle of the period.
Still, Caledonia solidified their lead, with Moore Jr. continuing an impressive performance, surpassing his season-high in points, leading all scorers in the process.
Palyza closed out the evening for the Gladiators, recording the host’s final five points of the contest. Holding out determinedly, Caledonia boast an undefeated record at their new arena,
Player of the Game
Clifton Moore Jr. is awarded the Player of the Game, tallying a season-high 17 points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes off the Caledonia bench. He played a crucial role in Caledonia’s inside scoring alongside Alihodzic, converting 7 of 11 inside shots, proving to be a handful for the Sharks’ defence.
|Caledonia Gladiators||Clifton Moore Jr.||17||6||0|
|Caledonia Gladiators||Fahro Alihodzic||14||7||2|
|B. Braun Sheffield Sharks||Devearl Ramsey||11||4||7|
|B. Braun Sheffield Sharks||Kipper Nichols||13||6||2|
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