Report: Bristol Flyers 71-85 Sheffield Sharks
Friday, December 6th 2019
Bristol Flyers fell victim to a 71-85 loss to Sheffield Sharks on the opening day of the BBL regular season.
Coach Kapoulas' side were unable to reproduce the magic of their winning performance against the Sharks a week ago, despite 21 points from Fred Thomas to go along with five assists and three rebounds.
Flyers got off to a solid start, rolling on their momentum from their huge cup quarter final win. Bristol were able to get baskets and draw fouls in transition with Raphell Thomas-Edwards netting a quick four points. Fred Thomas ran the floor and completed a lay-up through contact from a well-timed Lewis Champion pass, then finished the three point play at the foul line. Marcus Delpeche slipped past the defence and soared for a forceful one handed dunk triggering a Sharks timeout.
Sharks responded with an offensive outburst initiated by a three from their Captain Mike Tuck. Mackey McKnight grabbed a steal and ran the pick and roll to perfection for an inside score. McKnight found Connor Cashaw for a lay-up on the next possession to retake the lead.
Sharks managed to turn the tables and pick up fast break scores to extend the margin. A three pointer late in the quarter from Chris Taylor restored some Flyers confidence but McKnight responded with a deep three of his own at the buzzer to make it 16-28 at the end of the first period.
Coach Kapoulas marshalled his squad and they came out with renewed defensive intensity in the second quarter. Holding Sharks to just 12 points in the period allowed Flyers to cut deep into the lead. Fast break points from turnovers flowed from defensive stops including a dunk from Fred Thomas.
Gentrey Thomas got into the lane for a lay-up and followed up with a three-pointer. He would finish with 14 points and eight rebounds while celebrating his birthday. Delpeche got back to work on the low block, muscling into the paint for successive baskets. Fred Thomas finished the quarter with a high arcing three-pointer to make it 36-40 at half-time.
Sharks came out of the interval locked in on defence and held Flyers scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half. McKnight and Nick Lewis did the most damage for the Sharks in a 9-0 run that restored a double digit lead for the visitors. Delpeche broke the drought with a much-needed score but Sharks had found an offensive groove and amassed 27 points in the period to finish 48-67.
Flyers fought hard to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. Taylor was active in the passing lanes, snatching a game-high three steals. With transition points flowing, Flyers were able to cut the lead to 12. Lewis found his range, hitting timely three-pointers to keep the resurgent Flyers at bay.
Lewis’ improved shooting was crucial for the Sharks down the stretch as he answered made threes from Fred Thomas and Gentrey Thomas with triples of his own to ensure Flyers could not close the gap. With time against his team Coach Kapoulas took a pair of timeouts to achieve a much-needed score. It was not enough to subdue Sharks, who could sense blood in the water. Tuck finished the game with a final three-pointer to make it 71-85.