Basketball: Lyons award boost ahead of semi-final

Sharks coach Atiba Lyons. Pic: Dean Atkins.
Sharks coach Atiba Lyons. Pic: Dean Atkins.

Sheffield Sharks’ coach Atiba Lyons has been recognised for his team’s strong finish to the season by winning the Molten BBL Coach of the Month award for April.

Lyons, who leads his team into BBL Play-offs semi-final action on Friday (7.30pm) at the EIS against Newcastle Eagles, was given the nod after he guided his team past second seeds Leicester Riders and into the last four.

Sharks won five times in April after opening up the month with three consecutive victories. Bristol Flyers and Surrey United were beaten before an eye-catching win against London Lions at the Copper Box Arena.

Leicester beat Sharks in the league but they would ultimately extract some sweet revenge during the Play-offs to set up the two-legged tie with Newcastle.

Sharks bounced straight back with a 96-87 success on their own court against Manchester Giants and wrapped up the regular season with a 75-68 defeat against Cheshire Phoenix.

It was their first leg display in the Play-Off Quarter Final tie with Riders that really made the difference, as Lyons enjoyed his team producing one of their best displays of the year to collect a fine 79-68 win off the back of a great effort by forward Mike Tuck and the classy Mike Cook.

While they eventually lost 91-85 in the return game after overtime, Sharks had enough of a cushion to seal a spot in the last four of the Play-offs.