Basketball: Ball is in Leicester Riders' court as they take on bogey team Sheffield Sharks
Leicester Riders chase their second piece of silverware this season against a side who, historically, have held the voodoo sign over them.
But Riders will square up against Sheffield Sharks in Saturday's Sky-televised BBL Trophy final, at Glasgow's Emirates Centre, having had the better of recent matches against their rivals.
Since their arrival in the BBL at the start of the 1994-95 season, Sheffield have dominated Riders, winning 62 of 89 fixtures between the clubs.
Riders have been turning that dominance on its head in the last two seasons, though, having won nine matches in a row between the teams, including all five last season and the four so far this campaign.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Last season's wins included a demolition of the Sharks over two legs in the play-off quarter-finals, when Riders won by an aggregate score of 41 points.
Already this term, Riders knocked the Sharks out of the BBL Cup at the semi-final stage, winning by an even more impressive 50 points over two legs.
The last victory by Sheffield was in March 2011, when they won by 10 points at the English Institute of Sports.
But neither club has much of a record in the Trophy itself, with Sheffield winning it just once, in their inaugural season, and finishing runners-up in 1997-98.
Riders have never won the Trophy, having been beaten finalists twice – in 1991-92 and, more recently, in 2005-06, when they were hammered by Newcastle.
But none of the history between the two sides counts for anything as far as Riders head coach Rob Paternostro is concerned.
"Both clubs have had too many personnel changes to pay much attention to anything that has happened in previous seasons," he said.
"What we do know is that Sheffield have a proud history, and know how to win big games, so they know what it is about when it comes to finals.
"Even the games we have played against them this season don't count for much, because they have made personnel changes and have improved markedly during the last eight weeks or so."
In fact, the Sharks have won eight of their last 12 games to move into the final play-off position and, as things stand, the two clubs could be matched up again in the play-offs this season.
But Paternostro is taking nothing for granted.
"Sheffield have great experience in Mike Tuck, Olu Babalola and Andrew Bridge, and those guys have all won things," said the Riders coach.
"They have been to finals, and know how to perform on the day. Plus, the addition of BJ Holmes at point-guard has transformed them. They make smart decisions and look after the ball.
"So we will forget all about the games so far this season, and expect them to make changes to neutralise what we have done before. It will be about us making our own adjustments. But this is what we play for, and now our guys are building their own experience base.
"Both teams have to travel a long way to Scotland, so there is no advantage there.
"It will be two teams going at it and wanting desperately to win for different reasons. It should be a great game."
Riders still have tickets available for the Trophy final. To purchase, or for more details, telephone 0116 255 8635 or visit: