Dartford Sharks vs. Walderslade Wizards

This always-entertaining matchup saw a somewhat depleted Wizards team travel to Dartford. Missing Big Nick, the Wizards nonetheless played a consistent first quarter and Dartford were ahead by six at the start of the second. Jono Hayward and Andrys Braknys provided a steady start with the bulk of the Sharks’ first quarter points, several of them coming on pick-and-rolls between the two. Point guard Dave Marsh’s commitment to increasing the pace of the game energised the Sharks and challenged the bigger, slower Wizards to match the Sharks’ tempo.

The second quarter began with a further blow to the Wizards as their veteran point guard left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. However to their credit the Wizards’ level of play did not diminish with several players rallying around their centre. The athletic Malcolm Wellby- who, it may be remembered, dunked at the Wizards’ gym after a game there last season- and more Jono Hayward maintained the Sharks’ advantage going into the half.

Bruising veterans Zolt Kraft and Ben ‘Moose’ Maher started the second half strong for the Sharks, providing some inside scoring. Some selfless passing from Dan Fraser and Andy Denmon resulted in some fluid, intelligent offense that bodes well for the rest of the season. The assembled crowd of former Sharks saw the lead increase as the Wizards’ scoring dried up, none of their bench cabal able to supplement their centre’s consistent scoring. The lead may well have been even larger if the Sharks had used their bench a bit more systematically to maintain defensive intensity.

The fourth quarter was a similar story, with several Sharks finding the range from the perimeter, including Tadas Trubicinas, whose up-tempo and aggressive play has helped the Sharks tremendously this season. Overall it was a confident victory but the Wizards will no doubt be back at full strength for their home game on the last day of the season.

Final Score : 68 - 55

Sharks Scorers : J. Hayward 19, B. Maher 13, M. Wellby 8, A. Braknys 8, Z. Kraft 8, D. Marsh 5, T. Trubicinas 3, D. Fraser 2, K. Long 2.

November 2nd, 2017 by Malcom Wellby