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Report: Sheffield Sharks 58-81 Bristol Flyers

Bristol Flyers punched their ticket to the BBL Cup semi-final with a decisive victory on the road against Sheffield Sharks.

Gentrey Thomas led all scorers with 25 points and added five assists and five rebounds to set up a two-legged tie with London City Royals in the final four.


What Happened

Both teams got off to a slow start, finding baskets hard to come by. Sharks new big man Bennett Koch put the first points on the board, hitting one of two free throws. Flyers allowed Sharks to get looks in the paint while still searching for a second score and fell behind briefly. Gentrey Thomas ignited the offence with an aggressive drive to the rim.

Thomas turned catalyst, finding Delpeche for an easy score, and then going coast-to-coast to extend Bristol’s lead. Fred Thomas hit another three and Flyers looked to have found an offensive groove. Levi Bradley closed out the quarter with a spot up jumpshot on a baseline out-of-bounds play. The first quarter finished with Flyers ahead 17-10.

Sharks rallied in the second period, locking down on defence and holding Flyers to just 12 points to bring the lead down to 27-29 at half-time. Connor Cashaw led the way for the Sharks, splashing nine points in the quarter. 

Image credit - Sheffield Sharks

Flyers came out firing in the second half. Delpeche attacked the offensive glass for a put-back score. A rebounding tangle saw Delpeche downed and an unsportsmanlike foul assessed on Sheffield. Delpeche hit both free throws completing a 6-0 run to start the third.

Gentrey Thomas spotted up on the perimeter for three points. He found Delpeche in the lane for a sweeping hook shot and then drove in himself for a lay-up. Another dime from Thomas to Delpeche triggered a Sharks timeout.

Mike Tuck hit a pair of elbow jumpshots for Sheffield before Fred and Gentrey Thomas dialled in pull-up jump shots to keep the lead growing for Flyers. A step-back three-pointer from Mackey McKnight made it 42-53 at the end of the third.

Image credit - Sheffield Sharks

McKnight made back to back scores to open the fourth. Gentrey Thomas found a lane to the basket and finished a strong drive but picked up a technical foul following the play. He was unfazed by the call and seized control of the game scoring on another drive to the basket and then from beyond the arc; drawing a foul and completing a rare four point play at the foul line. A deep step back three capped off the scoring outburst.

With Gentrey Thomas picking up a fourth personal foul, Levi Bradley checked in and took over the scoring load. Fred Thomas found Bradley open for a three-pointer, one of his four assists along with 15 points.

With Sharks struggling to make the most of their opportunities at the foul line, Flyers were able to extend the lead rapidly. Lewis Champion hit Bradley on the arc for another three off a baseline out of bounds play before Bradley made the extra pass to set up a three for Taylor. Flyers dribbled out the clock and secure their semi-final spot, 58-81.