Kapoulas - 'We Believe We Can Make The Semi-Final'
Posted: Friday, April 28th 2017
Friday, April 28th 2017
Bristol Flyers staged a remarkable fightback at the WISE Arena to ensure it is still all to play for in the Play-Off Quarter-Final with Newcastle Eagles.
Finding themselves down by 33 points at one point in the first-half, an incredible second-half performance saw Flyers close the gap to Eagles to three points in this first leg, going down 94-97.
Bristol travel to Newcastle on Sunday needing to win by four points to advance to the Semi-Finals.
Flyers post season began giving up two easy baskets inside to the visitors' Darius Defoe, the latter being a slam dunk. Brandon Boggs retaliated by following Mike Vigor three-point attempt with a put-back dunk.
The game started at such a furious pace, with both teams looking to prove they were ready for game one. Though as the contest wore on, Eagles put their stamp on the game by racking up a sizeable lead.
Offensively Newcastle looked like a team ready for a long Play-Off run, shooting a shade under 50% for the half.
Defensively, the visitors were putting a lot of pressure on Flyers' backcourt, making them rush their offensive sets. This resulted in the home side committing 8 turnovers in the opening period.
In Bristol's haste to get back into the game, they were shooting early in the shot clock and settling for tough shots. This reflected on the home team's shooting percentage. as they went 2-17 for the first quarter.
Towards the end of the first Newcastle looked confident and in control, 9-30
Newcastle's offensive onslaught continued into the second quarter. Rahmon Fletcher, on his way to 15 first-half points, opened with a three-pointer followed by a long jumpshot to stretch their leader even further.
Captain Greg Streete stopped the bleeding by hitting a triple of his own. Ali scored a quick four points by finding an open two-pointer and then slashing to the rim for the lay-up.
Eagle called a timeout and Coach K deployed a high pressure trap defence to rattle visitors. The new defensive scheme slowed Newcastle down, albeit briefly. They countered with lightening quick ball movement resulting in open back to back three-pointers from Joe Hart.
Though Eagles were firmly in control, Flyers continued to battle from behind forcing the another timeout call following three straight three's from Roy Owen, Ali and Aaron Cosby.
Bristol started chipping away at the Eagles 30-point advantage. To close the half, Flyers played a great defensive possession to deny Eagles a bucket. Streete then followed this with a contested jumpshot from behind the arc at the half time buzzer, 35-53.
The lead belonged to Eagles but Flyers had the momentum heading into the third quarter. Bristol's defence held strong and kept Eagles out for their first two possessions.
Flyers followed the defensive effort by executing at the other end, Streete driving into the lane for the lay-up and Boggs for another triple.
Newcastle's lead was slowly shrinking and the capacity crowd at the SGS WISE arena were letting the visitors know about it. Streete then found Boggs for an alley-oop lay-up to send Flyers' faithful into a frenzy.
Eagles quickly silenced them with a three-pointer from Fab Fournoy. Martin then went straight to the hoop only to see his shot attempted rejected by Boggs.
Despite Bristol's efforts, Eagles were soaring as they moved the ball and found D Parks, who converted an And-1.
In a huge defensive play, Daniel Edozie rejected Eagles attempt with a single second left on the clock. However, the air was taken out of the building as Lasker hit a thee-point bomb at the buzzer.
Eagles were in commanding control as the contest entered its final period, 56-77.
Bristol came into the fourth quarter needing to finish the game strong if they wanted to make a comeback or close the gap for the second leg.
Streete got the ball rolling by beating his man to the rim again, Flyers' captain was fouled and converted on the And-1.
Newcastle started to double team the ball handlers just inside the half. Boggs rose up for a three but was hacked and sent to the line, the Flyers' swingman scored all three.
Flyers cut the deficit to just 16 points. The visitors' aggressive defence resulted in foul trouble and they were in the penalty with seven minutes remaining in the game. But the Newcastle team recognised the disadvantage and seamlessly drew four quick fouls putting the pressure back on Eagles.
Bristol's collective will was tested but they fought throughout the final period of the game.
With an eye on the second leg, Flyers refused to let Eagles' lead become insurmountable. Streete connected again from behind the arc, followed by an Ali jumper.
Streete shone on the following play making a touch pass to Edozie for the two. After an inspired fourth quarter comeback, Flyers came within single digits in the final 90 seconds of play.
With ice cold blood in his veins, Ali hit nothing but net on a three-pointer, then followed with two more clutch buckets. Bristol's defence stood strong, Edozie's block led to Ali running down court and just missing at the buzzer.
Flyers came all the way back from a 33 point deficit to lose, at the buzzer, 94-97.
🎥 For your viewing pleasure pic.twitter.com/002MnXgdU7— Bristol Flyers (@BristolFlyers) April 28, 2017
Points: Rahmon Fletcher - 31
Assists: Rahmon Fletcher - 9
Rebounds: Greg Streete - 12
Box Score: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/BBL/605016/
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