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Bristol Flyers 79 - 65 USA Select

Match report by Steven Hood

Bristol Flyers' preparation for their first season in the BBL began with a dominant 79-65 victory over a USA Select side at SGS WISE Arena.

The Flyers got off to the perfect start as Alif Bland calmly drained the first two free throws of the evening before showing off his power, jumping highest to grab a rebound from a Roy Owen 3-point shot and finishing emphatically under the post.

USA Select offered very little at the start of the first-quarter, as Leon Martin and Mike Harper were both guilty for missing easy looks from the free throw line before Danish import Mathias Seilund drove home another unopposed two points extending the Flyers' lead to 6-0.

Sean Kilmartin, head coach of USA Select opted to change the five players that were on the floor in an attempt to slow the Flyers' charge. However, the changes seemed in vain as Bland, up close, and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye's effort from range racked up a quick-fire five points for the Bristol Sport team.

Keith Winn Jr wriggled his way through the steely Flyers defence to score USA’s first two points from open play before Flyers captain Greg Streete floated in the final points of the quarter leaving the score at 27-8.

The Flyers started the second quarter at a frantic pace with Tamas Okros and Doug Mclaughlin-Williams scoring either side of a pair of Leon Martin free throws.

Team USA Select began to grow into the game during the second period and a huge dunk from Jerel Kwasikpul prompted Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas to call a time-out with the score at 33-18.

The evening’s visitors to SGS College’s WISE Arena reduced the Flyers lead to 11 just before the halfway point with a long-range effort from Dustin Baxter just a minute from half-time.

Both sides exchanged free throws in an outstanding 60-second period but it was the USA that won the second quarter by eight points and went into half-time trailing 39-28.

Jamaal Trice came out firing on all cylinders for the USA Select at the beginning of the third, sinking a three-point shot from deep in the corner closely followed up by a breakaway slam to bring the visitors within two points.

The Flyers had to stop the American dominance and so in stepped Jordan Ranklin. Ranklin got the Flyers' first points of the quarter by backing in and finished superbly at the post.

Bristol regained the form that gave them such a commanding lead at the end of the first quarter as Ranklin scored under the basket whilst absorbing heavy pressure.

At the other end of the court Mclaughlin-Williams and Lautier-Ogunleye weighed in with crowd-pleasing blocks from Jerel Kwasikpul and Trice respectively.

Streete continued to drive his team with a speedy break away double either side of some fantastic perimeter shooting from Mathias Seilund.

Another three-point bucket from Seilund wrapped up the quarter as the Flyers headed into the final ten minutes leading 65-48.

Seilund started the fourth quarter just as he ended the third with excellent perimeter shooting and pushed the Flyers into a 23-point lead. Marcus Graham twice had the opportunity to reduce the deficit from the line, but couldn’t make any of his efforts stick.

Mclaughlin-Williams also chipped in from distance to make it a streak of nine unanswered points for the Flyers before Keith Winn Jr’s rapid cross over found him the space to convert Team USA Select’s first points of the final period.

USA Selects main scoring outlet was Trice but he was unable to stop the Flyers pulling further ahead after slick spells of passing involving all five men on the court

A final flurry of points from both sides kept the gap at 14 points for a majority of the period and ensured a 79-65 victory for the Bristol Sport outfit as their continue preparations before the opening game of the BBL season at home to Plymouth Raiders on Saturday, September 27th.