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Report: British Basketball All-Stars Championship 2018

Bristol Flyers were unable to go one step further than last year’s semi-final appearance at the British Basketball All-Stars Championship.

An initial win over eventual winners Surrey Scorchers put Flyers out of danger early, but after losing to London Lions 29-21, Flyers were again paired with Scorchers in an elimination game and could not manage a second win over the Guildford side.

Game One: Bristol Flyers 43-32 Surrey Scorchers

Justin Gray swished a pull-up three pointer to open proceedings, but Scorchers’ guard Quincy Taylor burned the Flyers right back for two.

Josh Steel put the Scorchers ahead drawing a shooting foul on a driving lay-up; in the all-stars format shooting fouls on missed shots count for the value of the shot, while shots made through a foul get a point added. Flyers’ defence remained uncharacteristically porous with Jordan Williams cutting through for a one handed dunk.

Daniel Edozie answered with a mid-range two but Williams was straight back into the paint next time down for another two. Surrey head coach Creon Raftopoulos activated the powerplay with nine minutes remaining, but Justin Gray hit a three-pointer to put Flyers back on top. Willie Atwood made a dagger six-point basket next time down to tie things up at 11 points apiece. A shooting foul gave Scorchers another four points before their golden buzzer expired.

With the dangerous phase of the game passed, Coach Kapoulas made a series of substitutions and Flyers were able to get multiple scores from offensive rebounds to build a lead. Atwood made a huge five-pointer to retake the lead, but Coach K activated his own golden buzzer with just over four minutes remaining.

He timed the press perfectly with Falzon hitting a three. Justin Gray made a high flying block and Edozie was fouled at the basket for four points. Fred Thomas sank a mid-range jumper to bring the powerplay total to 14 points and put Flyers up 36-25. Flyers kept up the pressure on the paint in the remaining two minutes, with Tevin Falzon making a big and-one play. Lewis Champion smartly controlled the pace to ensure a Flyers win 43-32.

Game Two: London Lions 29-21 Bristol Flyers

Jordan Spencer put Lions ahead early with a deep three pointer. Delpeche answered with a shooting foul in traffic but Robinson was straight back to work at the other end with a lob pass for Kervin Bristol to throw down.

Kervin then made a block from behind on a driving Edozie, before a Justin Gray three-pointer and a Fred Thomas spin move tied things back up for Flyers. Coach Kapoulas made a series of substitutions and Falzon made an immediate impact with an offensive board and a strong finish.  

Chris Taylor fouled Flo Larkai on a made lay-up just as Coach Macaulay activated his golden buzzer to make it a six-point-play. Coach Macaulay’s timing was excellent as his two minute period took the game past the point where Flyers could use their buzzer. Lions made a total of 14 points in the powerplay to build a big lead. A Thomas three-pointer brought the game within nine, but the clock was against Flyers and Lions closed it out ahead 29-21. 

Game Three: Bristol Flyers 27-36 Surrey Scorchers

Surrey bounced back from their earlier defeat against Flyers with a huge 49-17 win over Worcester Wolves to make it to a rematch. This time the winner would advance to the semi-finals while the loser would see their competition end.

Falzon entered the starting line-up with Edozie rested following an elbow injury in the previous game. Falzon grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back in for two to open Flyers scoring.

Early fouls got Flyers behind and Coach Raftopoulos looked to activate his buzzer as Quincy Taylor put up a triple, but Coach Kapoulas beat him to it to keep the made shot a three. Gray made a six-point shot, but Scorchers made sure to slow the time down and Flyers were unable to cut into the lead, finishing the powerplay down 14-22.  

Coach Raftopoulos finally got to activate his buzzer and stretched the lead out, 16-28. Jordan Williams remained a problem drawing a further shooting foul to make it a fourteen point lead. Thomas heated up with a three.

Mayindombe followed with a steal and drew a shooting foul. Thomas sank another three but again the clock was against Flyers and their run fell short with the game finishing 27-36 to send Flyers home.