Still basking in the euphoria of lifting the BBL Cup, Sheffield Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons has challenged his side to make inroads in the league title race.

The American, whose side visits Worthing on Saturday, gave his side a mini-break as a reward for their shock defeat of Mersey in Birmingham as they became the first team ever to retain the trophy.

Lyons isn't done yet

That was just the start, Lyons hopes. Sheffield sit sixth in the standings. Not great? Well, they only sit on one more loss (4) than the Tigers with four games in hand.

And that, states the Sharks playcaller, gives them plenty to aim at.

“I feel we are refocused now and ready for the next competition which is the league, and doing all we can to be in the running for that trophy late in the season,” he said.

“It will be a very difficult task since so many teams are playing well at the moment but our focus is back and all we can do is take care of Sharks’ business one game at a time.

“I felt last season the Cup gave us added confidence headed down the stretch of the season in closing out big games and making plays. I hope this win has a similar effect.

“We were marked a poor defensive team headed into the game and we stepped up on defensive end of the court. In order for more success this season we will need that type of effort from any five that steps on the court.”

With Olu Babalola’s late arrival strengthening Lyons’ hand – and Steve Dagostino showing signs of consistency – Sheffield look well-placed to make a move, Lyons underlines.

Another boost? The form of the coach himself since he shook off injury. As a part-owner of the club since it emerged from liquidation last summer, Lyons will take all the pluses available on and off the court. The Cup, he hopes, is just the start.

” As a team it gives you a shot of energy in your arm and everyone gets a little pep in their step,” he said.

“For the club its physical proof of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, especially for Sarah Backovic and Yuri Matischen who have worked hard making the Sharks successful and an elite organisation for 16 years.”

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