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Report: Leicester Riders 76-68 Bristol Flyers

It will be Leicester Riders who face London Lions in the BBL play-off final as Bristol Flyers fell to a 76-68 defeat in the midlands.

Brandon Boggs led Flyers with 19 points, whilst Tyler Bernardini had a game-high 22 points.

Box score


What happened

Bristol Flyers headed to Leicester with a huge challenge ahead of them. Flyers lost the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Riders by 15 points, meaning they needed to beat the top-seeded Riders team by 16 points to secure a spot in the finals.

Both teams struggled to get going, trading misses for the first minute until Flyers put the scorekeeper to work with a three from Brandon Boggs.

Flyers sustained the early advantage for several minutes but Riders dug in and found stops, taking a 12-11 lead behind a Bernardini pull up jumpshot with just under five minutes remaining in the quarter.

Riders sustained the advantage putting together a 10-0 run and forcing a Flyers time out with the score at 17-11.

Jordan Davis responded with a made three and Flyers were able to keep it close as the quarter drew to a close. A layup just before the buzzer by JR Holder ended the period with the score still in Riders favour 22-16.

Daniel Edozie made an active start to the second period, running the floor and getting position deep  in the paint for a layup.

Boggs followed up with a Eurostep layup in transition and another stop gave Davis the chance to take the lead with another long range shot, Flyers edging ahead 23-22.

Riders continued to struggle to get shots to fall and Coach Paternostro called time out after a fast break layup from Malcolm Delpeche put the Flyers ahead 27-22.

Riders came back aggressively netting a couple of and one baskets to eat into the lead and put Flyers into the team fouls penalty. Flyers outside shooting continued strong with Boggs hitting a three pointer to keep Flyers ahead 32-26.

Another pull-up jump shot from Boggs; he led all scorers in the first half with 14 points.

Flyers big men continued to win the race up court and a 6-0 run on transition scoring forced another Riders time out with 30 seconds remaining in the half, Flyers now up 41-33.

Riders out of time out play was broken up by a moving screen foul against Bernardini. Flyers looked to capitalise with their own last time out of the half.

Coach K drew up a baseline play for Rohndell Goodwin but his driving hook shot glanced off the rim and Flyers headed into half time with their heads held high and an eye still on overcoming the first leg deficit.

Flyers fans were on their feet at the half, with Flyers up by eight points on the night

Flyers retook the court knowing they could not allow their consistency to drop in the third quarter, having struggled in the third quarter of Friday’s home leg.

Riders came out firing but Jordan Davis kept Flyers composed with another three. Goodwin followed with a nice turnaround jumper in the lane but Riders stayed aggressive and a Bernardini three pointer forced Coach Kapoulas to take a time out with the lead down to just one point, 46-45.

Riders improved long range shooting made a difference in the third quarter, a three from TrayVonn Wright putting them back inn the lead 49-48.

JR Holder took charge for the Riders, driving in the paint and picking up fouls. Holder first made two at the line and Delpeche answered with a strong pick and roll finish.

Holder came straight back with a made layup but missed the and one free throw. Boggs refused to let the momentum turn away from his team, making a steal and then a 360 two handed flush to keep it close, Flyers down one 53-52 as the quarter ended.

Ten minutes left, seventeen points needed.

Bernardini opened the fourth quarter scoring with a dagger fall-away three but Edozie immediately responded with a rare triple of his own.

Both teams maintained their defensive intensity but a huge block from Boggs was not enough to keep Riders at bay - Wright recovered his miss and made a nice dish in the lane to Shane Walker for the layup. Coach K called for time again with Flyers down 60-55.

Out of the time out Jordan Davis made a sweet no look pass to Edozie for a two handed jam. As the clock dwindled down Flyers kept the game close as the aggregate win seemed to slip through their grasp.

Boggs and Goodwin did not want to see their BBL season end on a low and made a series of tenacious drives to keep it within five as the last two minutes ticked away. Another three pointer from sharp shooting Bernardini in the last minute gave Coach Kapoulas more to talk over with the team.

A trio of missed three pointers marked the end of a hard fought but ultimately unsuccessful game for the Flyers, losing 76-68.  

Report written by Owen Parker.


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