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Bristol Flyers 2015/16 Season Review: March

We continue to look back at Bristol Flyers 2015/16 season with a review of March.

Saturday, March 5th 2016: Bristol Flyers 69-65 Sheffield Sharks

Bristol Flyers had seven games to play in their version of March madness, and opened with a home game against the Sheffield Sharks. Sharks came into the game trying to solidify their seeding for the playoffs, whereas Flyers knew they would need to get on a roll to qualify for the post-season.

Bristol fell behind early on, only shooting 21% for the first quarter. Failing to connect on jump-shots, Flyers attacked the rim, getting three straight lay-ups in quick succession. The offensive flurry brought Bristol back into the game. Sheffield gave Bristol problems and continued to get to the foul line. Despite not shooting well from the stripe, Sharks held a 29-32 lead going into the half .

Flyers kept driving to the basket and drawing fouls, scoring enough at the foul line to keep in the game. Eventually Bristol took a 47-44 lead heading into the fourth. Flyers looked poised to take over the game, as Sharks were not able to score on the home defence. Bristol built a ten point fourth quarter lead, the home crowd working towards a crescendo with every score. Lee urging the crowd to an almost frenzy after a two-handed throw down from Daniel Edozie. Sharks came back with a four point play, but Greg Streete buried a long three-pointer to put the game on ice.


Saturday, March 12th 2016: Bristol Flyers 67-75 Glasgow Rocks

Flyers had won their first game of March and understood the importance of securing a back to back win. With the post-season still in their sights, they welcomed the visiting Glasgow Rocks. The visitors went straight to work in the early goings by driving, dishing and connecting on open shots. Bristol came back with intent, but failed to score with any regularity. At the end of the first Flyers were trailing 6-10.

Both squads continued to shoot a low percentage from the field. Extra possessions were key and rebounds became vital, with Edozie grabbing nine rebounds in the first half alone. Trailing by 13 to start the second half, Bristol went aggressively into the post, getting production from Edozie. The big man gobbled up another rebound and completed a three-point-play.

Glasgow attacked from long range, but Edozie would answer once again, completing another and-one, scoring in transition, then getting back quickly to block the next Glasgow shot. Flyers came into the fourth quarter with energy, Edozie again snatching a rebound out of the air and stuffing it with a slam dunk. Edozie had led the Flyers back into the game, but time had run out on the comeback. Rocks strung together enough field goals to keep the game out of reach 67-75.


Sunday, March 13th, 2016 : Manchester Giants 64-62 Bristol Flyers

Flyers paid a visit to Manchester Giants, looking to make up some ground in the hunt for the last play-off spot. The contest opened with the home team on fire in the first period, posting 24 first quarter points and leading the visitors by seven.

Trailing by as many as ten in the second quarter, Bristol turned to their defence to claw their way back into the game. They stifled Manchester to score just 12 second quarter points, bringing the game close. Roy Owen cut the gap to a single point with a three towards the start of the second half, and the Flyers moved into the lead when Cardell McFarland later followed suit.

Bristol led by one heading into the fourth, and after both teams struggled to add to their totals, the game was tied at 58 with five minutes remaining. Twice, the visitors levelled, but were unable to do so a third time as Callum Jones hit a game-winning jump-shot at the end of regulation to hand Giants their seventh win of the season 64-62.

Friday, March 18th 2016: Bristol Flyers 86-78 Cheshire Phoenix

Flyers play-off hopes were slim but still alive as they hosted Cheshire Phoenix at the SGS WISE Arena. Bristol opened the game with crisp passes, swift ball movement and high octane offence. This was countered by Cheshire's long range shooting, notably by Cheshire sharpshooter Akeem Ellis.

Ellis' offensive barrage was matched by Flyers collective play. Daniel Edozie converted and-one, followed by a heavily contested three-pointer from McFarland. Flyers had 13 assists alone in the first half, six of which belonged to McFarland

Cheshire looked to have the game wrapped up late on, but Flyers turned up the intensity. Cardell McFarland stripping the ball, forcing a backcourt violation, on another possession Lee dived on the lose ball, before tipping it out to Greg Streete for an open lay-up on the break. Bristol's defence was on point, and the offence followed suit, as the ball movement was sharp, the ball skipping to the open man for good looks. Flyers took the lead in the third and never looked back, securing another home win, 86-78.


Sunday, March 20th 2016: Plymouth Raiders 91-72 Bristol Flyers

The once achievable goal of the last post-season berth was slipping away. Bristol found themselves needing a win away to Plymouth Raiders, a team that only had lost one in their last seven league games. Plymouth's Adrien Sturt fired in an early three to set the tone for a high-scoring opening quarter, but it was the Flyers who edged in front with Tyrone Lee scoring nine points in the period.

Plymouth began to turn the tide in the second and compiled a 17-5 spell to open up an 11-point lead. Corey Dixon had 19 points in the first half, and the Raiders came out firing in the second with Duane Bailey netting two triples in a 16-4 burst to establish a commanding 20-point cushion.

Bristol immediately closed the gap with a 7-0 response, but could not get closer than 13 points as Plymouth powered their way to a fifth consecutive league victory at home as they climbed above London Lions in the standings. The Flyers were led by Lee's 18 points as their play-off hopes took a hit in another twist in the race for a top eight finish.


Friday, March 25th 2016: Sheffield Sharks 78-70 Bristol Flyers

The Sharks made a fast start with an opening 9-4 run, but the Flyers took their first lead of the game on the back of an 8-2 burst. Despite trailing at the end of the first, Bristol responded by opening up a lead as large as seven points at the half and went into the interval ahead by two. The lead changed hands throughout the third but Sheffield edged ahead to lead by two going into the final quarter. Bristol scored the first 11 points of the fourth to establish a nine-point lead.

The Sharks were trailing 56-65 with six minutes remaining, but hit back with a 12-0 run in a spell that included seven straight points inside a minute from Jerrold Brooks. Bristol retaliated with a quick score, tying the game at 68 a piece.

Sharks produced a strong finish with six more points from Brooks helping to secure the victory. Tyrone Lee had 13 of his 15 points in the first half with four players reaching double figures, but it was no match for Sheffield's Brooks with a game-high of 26 points. Flyers fell to their 19th league defeat in a further dent to their play-off hopes.


Sunday, March 26th 2016: Leicester Riders 90-52 Bristol Flyers

After an exhausting month for Bristol Flyers, they closed March with a trip to Leicester to face the team widely tipped to win the BBL play-offs. Leicester hosted Bristol with a record of 16-7 on the season. Flyers had been restricted to fewer than 70 points in all of their previous games against the league’s best defence.

Riders scored the last ten points of the first quarter to lead 30-13, shooting 8/12 free-throws in the first ten minutes. Riders were clicking on offence and suffocating on defence, forcing Flyers into shooting just 31% and committing 19 turnovers.

Tyler Bernardini opened the second stanza with a three-pointer for Riders to send the lead through twenty, and Walker added another with an ‘and-one’ before the half was out to ensure that Flyers could not get much closer. Riders, led by their big man Trevor Gruis with 18 points on 87% shooting, blew Flyers out 90-52.

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