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Lyons and Reese Win Final Monthly Awards


The final monthly awards of the 2021-22 BBL season have gone to
Atiba Lyons, Head Coach of the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, and Isaiah Reese, the
star point guard for London Lions.

Coach Lyons wins the Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month award
for April after a busy period during which Sharks went 7-2 to secure second
place in the BBL Championship, the team’s highest finish for eight years and,
of course, maintaining their ever-presence in the post-season during their 27
years in the BBL.

In a highly competitive race for second place, Sharks produced a
series of key wins in April as they overcame London and Manchester Giants,
thereby taking the head-to-heads against two of the other sides in the running
for second, as well as beating top-four contenders such as Bristol Flyers and
Cheshire Phoenix.

In a nail-biting finish to the campaign, testing Coach Lyons’
mettle, all four of those wins were by single-figures in extremely close games,
often requiring late comebacks from his team. None more so than a sensational
finish at Bristol where Sharks trailed by eight points with 30 seconds
remaining when Lyons called a timeout, sending his team back onto the floor to
score the last eight of the contest before taking the game in overtime.

A week later they again came through overtime, live on Sky Sports,
to beat London Lions 78-71 at Ponds Forge with a late stand once more as they
held Lions scoreless for the final three and a half minutes to tie the game
with consecutive baskets to end regulation, before dominating the extra period
after scoring the first seven points.

That defensive stand was characteristic of Lyons’ team as they
have finished the season as the league’s second-best defence and second-best
paint protectors. They conceded an average of just 72.4 points per game in
April, even with two overtime games.

Sharks secured second on the final weekend of the regular season,
hosting Manchester Giants and again coming from behind late on having trailed
for over 30 minutes of the game, rattling off a 15-4 start to the fourth
quarter before going inside to Bennett Koch for three consecutive scores in the
final two minutes after they had again found themselves one point down.

The month ended with a Play-off quarter-final first leg win over
Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks, however they slipped out of the Play-offs to start May
with key injuries to Rodney Glasgow Jr. and Antwain Johnson, losing the home
leg live on Sky Sports.

Meanwhile, London Lions were another team that found form when it
mattered down the stretch, winning six games in April to finish third in the
BBL Championship, driven by star American guard Isaiah Reese and resulting in
him picking up the Molten BBL Player of the Month award for April.

The 25-year-old native of Miami – formerly with the Santa Cruz
Warriors of the NBA G-League – carried a heavy load across 10 games in a busy
month, averaging a league-high 21 points, with five assists, four rebounds and
two steals per outing, shooting 37% from the three-point line.

Overall, it means that Reese finishes the regular season as the
league’s leading scorer at 19 points per game and also top five in assists (7),
while he has made more three-pointers overall on the league campaign than any
other player (70).

Like Sheffield, Lions faced a number of key contests in the month
against fellow top four contenders, winning their last three games including
crunch ties against Cheshire Phoenix and Manchester Giants on the final
weekend. Against Giants, Reese played all 40 minutes and finished the campaign
with a season-high 32 points on six made three-pointers, with eight assists and
five rebounds to ensure third place and push Giants out of the top four.

Two days prior he had his second-highest points haul of 26 points
at the Copper Box Arena against the Phoenix, shooting 10-14 (71%) from the
floor and another 6-7 (86%) from three-point range, with seven assists.

He was also the hero to open the month, as Lions came from behind
to beat Bristol at home, winning the fourth quarter 24-11 as Reese scored eight
points, with two assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Lions finished the month with a home victory in the Play-off
quarter-final first leg against Phoenix, Reese with 16 points, eight rebounds
and five assists, before starting May by securing their progression to the
semi-finals as they now look to book a date for the final at the O2 Arena on
Sunday 15th May.



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