Surrey Scorchers faced back-to-back defeats on the weekend, as Sheffield Sharks and Manchester Giants got the better of them
Saturday: Surrey Scorchers 80-83 Sheffield Sharks
Having already beaten the Sharks this season Surrey were full of confidence. However, it was Sheffield who started as the stronger side when they raced into a 10-5 lead. Scorchers hit back and went ahead 18-13 after some sharp shooting by Tayo Ogedengbe and Kalil Irving who both hit 3s when the pressure was on. The game was being played at a frantic pace and Sheffield clawed their way back to level the scores once again. Though thanks to a couple of 2s from Will Maynard and Chaz Rollins late in the quarter, the Scorchers ended Q1 leading 26-24
Speaking after the game, Scorchers head Coach Creon, pinpointed Q2 as where the match was lost. Despite this, Surrey started the second quarter strongly, and took a 7 point lead which was highlighted by Big Mike Ochereobia who showed fantastic strength to hold off all challenges and score a 2. Sheffield hit back by scoring 6 points in a row, but a timely 2 from Will Neighbour kept Scorchers in front. Surrey held this advantage for almost the entire quarter until a late surge from the Sharks saw them overturn the point’s difference and move ahead 48-45 as the half ended.
At the start of Q3 Sheffield took a 7 point lead, but a couple of 2s from Big Mike kept Surrey within touching distance, this was followed by some fantastic play from Rollins and Quincy Taylor as Surrey levelled the scores at 62-62. The teams exchanged 2s, until a late free-throw saw Sheffield move ahead 67-64 at the end of the quarter.
A big Q4 was needed, but despite staying close the home side were struggling to level the match; some good play from Rollins moved the scores to within 1. Yet with 5 minutes left, it was looking to be ‘one of those days’ until a moment of magic from Tayo brought the crowd to their feet when he scored a sensational 3 to put the Scorches ahead. Sheffield came back, but with 1 minute left in the match, Scorchers had a slender 1 point lead. However, a 2 and a free-throw from the Sharks saw that disappear and left the Scorchers with a disappointing end to a thrilling game.
Sunday: Manchester Giants 91-79 Surrey Scorchers
Surrey came into this game knowing that anything but a win would do, and they started as the better side when Big Mike Ochereobia and Quincy Taylor hit a couple of early 2s. Despite the struggles that the Giants have faced this season, they didn’t look nervous with the ball and took the lead for the first time thanks to a 3. Control of the match was changing hands at a fast pace but when Will Neighbour and Chaz Rollins shared a couple of 2s between them it looked like the Scorchers would end Q1 on top, despite the pressure the Giants came fighting back and moved 5 points ahead as they quarter ended 26-21.
The Giants kept up the momentum at the start of Q2 when they went 33-24 ahead. A couple of 2s from Taylor and Chaz Rollins, saw Surrey start to find their rhythm and when Will Neighbour hit a 3 it looked only a matter of time before the scores were level. However, some quick play from the Giants saw them regain their advantage, Taylor was doing his best to give the Scorchers some control, but another late surge from Manchester saw them end the half leading 52-43.
Scorchers were looking to make it 5 wins in a row against the Giants but knew they needed to start the second-half strongly in order to do so. Big Mike and Taylor got Scorchers off to a good start when they both hit 2s but the Giants with the full support of the crowd behind them were starting to build a sizeable lead. Neighbour hit a 3 to help ease the pressure and then the fight back appeared to be in full swing when Tayo Ogedengbe and Neighbour both hit 2s to move Surrey within 8. The score was within touching distance for the Scorchers but another 2 from the Giants helped to stop the momentum and saw them end Q3 leading 74-64.
Q4 was always going to be an uphill struggle for the away side as they trailed by 10, and the Giants were in no mood for slowing down as they continued their Q3 scoring form. A quick 2 from both Neighbour and Karlil Irving didn’t break Manchester's concentration as they took a 19 point lead after hitting 8 unanswered points. Taylor broke their run with a 2 but it was too little too late as the Manchester Giants ran out comfortable winners.