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Report: Bristol Flyers 63-66 Sheffield Sharks

Bristol Flyers fell short in a hard-fought home debut against the Sheffield Sharks behind closed doors.

Flyers were led by sharp-shooting Zach Copeland who had 25 points including six made three-pointers.

BOX SCORE


WHAT HAPPENED

Eric Lockett opened the scoring for Flyers. Sharks were able to get points in the paint early, before Copeland tied the game up with a driving lay-up. Sharks’ newly added veteran guard Callum Jones answered with a three-point play. Copeland connected from beyond the arc to level the score again. Jones was active for Sharks, finding British rookie Oscar Baldwin for a lay-up and then making a mid-range jumper. Raphell Thomas-Edwards checked in and soared above the rim for a putback dunk. The first quarter finished with Flyers behind by one.

A high-scoring second quarter was sparked by Lockett stealing the ball and running the floor for a fast break score. A three-pointer from Panos Mayindombe forced a Sharks timeout, but Sharks forwards Antwon Lillard and Kipper Nichols troubled Flyers inside. With Josh Wilcher recovering from an injury, SGS Academy Student Marvin Dinnall made the most of the opportunity.

Dinnall elevated for a three-point shot, but spotted Lockett open under the basket and adjusted to throw an alley-oop pass. He was then able to bypass his defender and draw a foul to score two from the foul line. Lockett collapsed the defence with a drive and dished the ball to a lurking Thomas-Edwards for the dunk.

Thomas-Edwards seized a loose ball and moved it ahead to Marcus Delpeche for a thunderous one handed slam in transition. A solid down screen from Thomas-Edwards ensured Copeland an open look at the basket on a go-ahead three pointer. The strong run gave Flyers a 40-31 lead at half-time.

Lockett started the second half with a steal and found Copeland running straight to the wing for another three. Sharks’ returning centre Bennett Koch made his presence felt after a quiet first half, scoring multiple times from post play. With Flyers struggling to connect, Nichols closed the gap with successive scores. Copeland and Sharks’ Captain Mike Tuck exchanged a pair of three-pointers to make it 50-49 at the end of the third. 

Tuck edged his team ahead with second chance points to open the fourth quarter. With the momentum swinging away from Flyers, Daniel Edozie sank a mid-range jumper to settle the team.

Copeland was able to tie the game with a three point play, completing a tough finish after absorbing a foul. Copeland splashed another triple, but Nichols was able to respond. With the game heading into crunch time, Flyers could not find much-needed points and Sharks were able to edge ahead with multiple trips to the foul throw line. Copeland managed to get a good look with a pump fake in the dying seconds but could not connect on the buzzer beater.