Manchester Giants 105-102 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (2OT) (33-21, 58-42, 67-58, 83-83, 91-91)
(Giants: Williams, 31; Lee, 23; Green, 13 — Sharks: Nelson, 33; Banks Jr. 17; Ogunyemi, 16)
Cheshire Phoenix 71-78 Plymouth City Patriots (12-17, 32-38, 50-61)
(Phoenix: Anderson, 21; Strawberry, 13; Ochereobia, 10– Patriots: Williams, 27; Brandon/Simons, 12; Hawthorne, 10)
Leading by as many as 21 points, Manchester failed to ice the game in regulation, allowing Sheffield to fight back.
A long two from Kipper Nichols with 8.9 seconds left tied the game at 83-83, with Rahmon Fletcher unable to do anything in the final seconds, forcing overtime.
With nothing to separate the two sides in the first overtime, Manchester finally broke clear for good with 41 seconds left in the second extra period as a basket from William Lee plus split foul shots from Dirk Williams sealed the win.
Nichols tried to repeat his heroics late in the fourth, but he missed his three in the dying seconds.
Williams led the way with 31 points, including six three-pointers with Lee adding 23 along with 13 rebounds and two blocks for the Giants who swatted away a total of nine shot attempts.
Racing out to a 13-0 start, Manchester connected on nine of their first 10 shots as Sheffield struggled to find any offensive rhythm, thanks to two blocks from Lee and one from Anthony Robertson in that spell.
A three from Channel Banks Jr. seemed to settle any nerves for the Sharks as both teams seemed happy to throw long-range shots – and connecting on the majority – as 11 triples were netted in the first with the hosts up 33-21.
Scores from former Shark Nick Lewis and Robertson kept Manchester’s double-digit advantage intact, as both teams encountered heat checks from deep.
But the deadly combination of Williams and Lee saw a giant leap in the lead as they hit a three and a lay-up respectively, to give the hosts a 52-32 lead with 3:15 left in the half.
Malcolm Delpeche and Kipper Nichols kept Sheffield interested, but Manchester led 58-42 at the break.
Williams stayed dialled in as he connected on a mid-range jumper to maintain the hosts double-digit advantage early in the third, along with a slam, but Sheffield were starting to threaten.
And as the quarter wound down, four quick points from Saeed Nelson, lifted Sheffield, heading into the final period with them trailing by nine.
Sheffield then continued to chip into the deficit and as time wound down, they had enough in them to force overtime but they couldn’t complete the comeback.
Nelson led all scorers with 33 points for the Sharks.
Over in Ellesmere Port, Plymouth City Patriots secured their first win of the BBL season with a 78-71 win over Cheshire Phoenix.
Antonio Williams led all scorers with 27 points on 50% shooting for the victors, helped along by Isa Brandon and Troy Simons, who both had 12.
“We came out here, got the dub, that’s what we planned,” Williams said afterward.
“We got a slogan: unfinished business and we wanted to take care of our business and we did that tonight.”
Jamell Anderson provided the main spark for the Phoenix with 21 points with Jordan Strawberry adding 13.
A bright start from the hosts was matched, then bettered by Plymouth as a triple from James Hawthorne Jr. gave his side an 11-6 lead, half way through the first.
Phoenix seemed to be too reliant on shooting from deep but not finding any joy, as Plymouth maintained a 17-12 cushion, after the first period.
And the Patriots eventually extended their lead further as a slam by Williams followed by five points, back-to-back from Brandon handed them a 35-21 cushion with 3:40 left in the second.
Cheshire, led by Strawberry and a three from Will Neighbour left Plymouth settling for a 38-32 advantage at the half.
The Patriots came out firing in the third and a 7-0 run re-established their double-digit lead, highlighted by a three-point play from Williams, who stepped up in the period.
The American hit 15 points to lift Plymouth to a 61-50 lead after three.
From there, Patriots were able to keep the hosts at bay, led by Hawthorne and Williams.
Anderson provided resistance for the Phoenix with seven points in the final quarter, but the visitors began their campaign with a win.
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