CLEVELAND, OHIO - The Ohio Sharks yesterday won their eleventh straight game with a devastating display of skill and strength against the visiting Alaska Salmons. Forward Andre Wendle was the standout as he fought through a committed defence to score a massive 33 points, while centre Jake Tanhide moved the ball around very effectively and maintained a solid defence.
Sharks Coach Matt Bremington was under no illusions as to what won his side the game. "Oh, our heart, definitely. There's no way we could have come through that without the triumphant spirit we showed in the second half." Asked about Wendle's game-winning contribution, he was similarly praising. "Andre came through for the whole team. The way he overcame those obstacles to reach his goal was real inspiring for all of us."
Wendle himself played down his role in the victory. "Some people say that I'm athletically gifted, powerful and mobile, with unparalleled coordination and tactical vision, but at this level it all comes down to courage and determination. Our guys had that in spades, you know, and they came back at us real hard, really gave it everything, but we went up a gear and started gelling as a team and we managed to grind it out."
Tanhide has had a disappointing season thus far, but he is hopeful that his top-drawer performance will signal the end of his slump. "I wasn't playing great ball earlier this year. I guess my soul wasn't really in it. There was nothing technically wrong, I was just not feeling it out there, and it's so tough sometimes when it seems like your passion's gone." He had missed 17 free throws in the previous 6 games. "You can have your hands just right, but if you don't believe what you're throwing, there's no way it's hitting the target."
Sharks fan Mick Duvall, 24, has been to every game this season and is content with the manner of his team's win. "I love these guys, win, lose or draw, but it's so satisfying to see them finally come together as a spiritual unit instead of a bunch of guys with the technical skills required to get a ball into a hoop."
It is the fifth time this season that the Sharks have achieved a grinding, skin-of-their teeth victory by scoring three times as many points as their opponents.