Mersey Tigers ended the British Basketball League season with silverware in their hands. Taking a treble, Tony Garbelotto's men defeated Sheffield Sharks 79-74 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham to lift the Play-Off crown.

Blanking out the financial problems which have beset the club off the court this season, the league and Trophy champions led from start to finish and delivered in a decisive fourth quarter to sign off on a high.

It wasn't a classic. Two sides who have pushed themselves to the brink showed signs of battle fatigue. The last team, the best team, was left standing.

“I’m unbelievably proud of my guys for what they’ve achieved and what they’ve come through,” said Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto.

“We had to really dig deep with injuries over the past month. I’ve no idea what the future holds for this group but I think what we’ve achieved has been incredible.”

James Jones, named the final’s Most Valuable Player, hit 17 points for Mersey including a three-pointer which sent his side 23-14 ahead in the first quarter as Drew Sullivan made his return from injury.

Sheffield rebounded to trail 42-35 at half-time and threatened to make a surge after the break.

There was little between both teams in a tight and low scoring third quarter with the Cup winners continuing to lack their usual offensive fluidity and unable to get anything going from three-point range to make life more difficult for Tigers. With 90 seconds left, a three by Perry Lawson made it a 9-point gap but Mike Tuck buried a triple of his own to help Sharks hang in, despite a 54-48 deficit at the end of the third.

Their task was made more difficult when playmaker Steve Dagostino – held to just 5 points by Mersey’s defensive attentions – picked up a fourth foul inside 30 seconds of the restart.

Nate Reinking opened up a double-digit lead which was then expanded by yet another three by the deadly Jones.

Tigers briefly conspired to hand Sharks a glimmer of hope after a Thomson unsportsmanlike foul and then a technical foul on Sullivan resulted in the deficit being reduced to five points. 

Despite a game-high 22 points from Ryan Patton, a late flurry never quite came as the Tigers avenged their Cup final defeat in January at their rivals’ hands.

Great Britain international Tafari Toney added 19 points and 13 rebounds, delivering an emphatic dunk which effectively sealed Sheffield’s fate with two minutes remaining with Patton's three-pointer in the last seconds proving futile.

“We didn’t play well when we played them in the Cup but we turned that around,” said Jones, who shook off a hamstring injury.

“We’ve tried not to focus on the problems off the court too much. The constant we’ve had is coming to the basketball court to work and we’ve been confident in our abilities.”

Earlier, a Rest of the World line-up 119-115 defeated Great Britain select in the BBL's All Star Game. Newcastle's Kadiri Richard was MVP with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

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