Report: Bristol Flyers 62-61 Sheffield Sharks
Friday, January 18th 2019
Bristol Flyers claimed their first win of 2019 despite a fourth quarter comeback from the visiting Sheffield Sharks.
Flyers were led by Justin Gray, Fred Thomas and Chris Taylor with 10 points each - Gray’s last three points coming with the game-winning triple.
The game got off to a tentative start, with both sides playing hard defence and neither managing to score for almost two minutes. Tevin Falzon got Flyers going with a pair of scores in the paint before Daniel Edozie sought out Gray for scoring opportunities in transition.
Sharks matched Flyers' scoring throughout the period and edged ahead with a baseline jumper from Rob Marsden. Gray knocked down a mid-range jumper to tie it up. Sharks veteran shooting guard Chris Alexander grabbed a wayward pass and drew a shooting foul from Jordan Nicholls. Nicholls demonstrated a composed next play mentality, finding Mike Vigor for a mid-range jumper to end the first period tied, 11-11.
Alexander used his quickness to keep the pressure on the defence in the second quarter, breaking through for a three point play. The drive and kick to a big man for a baseline jumpshot remained successful for the Sharks, with Marsden hitting again to open up a five point lead. Marcus Delpeche made a put back basket and then followed up with a steal and a score to keep things close. Delpeche kept his hot streak going with a lay-up but Williams responded with a fast break score of his own.
The bench unit remained highly productive with Taylor taking over from Delpeche. Taylor made a hustle play to grab an offensive rebound and draw a foul, hitting both free throws. Taylor energised the Flyers offence feeding Edozie for a lay-up and then heating up in a hurry with a swished three-pointer. He then found Falzon next time down for another lay-up.
Thomas checked back in for Flyers and fueled Taylor’s fire with a dime on the fast break for another three-pointer. The two ran the floor and linked up again, this time for an alley-oop dunk to give Taylor 10 points in the period. The ball movement remained contagious with Taylor finding Champion for a three-pointer to cap off the flurry of scoring for Flyers with an eight point lead. An emphatic dunk from Thomas from a drop off pass by Falzon followed by an Edozie lay-up maintained the lead in the face of Sharks transition scoring. Flyers took a 38-30 cushion into half-time.
Champion banked home a three-pointer to begin the second half. Williams immediately answered with a three of his own for the Sharks. Falzon made another well timed pass to Thomas for a high-flying dunk. Mike Vigor was next up for Flyers with a pair of three pointers to open up a 14 point lead. Williams closed out the quarter with a pair of made free throws, 51-39.
Sharks Captain and England international Mike Tuck took control of the game early in the fourth, hitting back-to-back baskets to narrow the margin. Flyers offence cooled off while Sharks whittled away at the lead. Alexander tied the game at 55 points apiece with a huge three-pointer.
Sharks’ outside shooting seemed to keep the momentum in their favour, with Williams hitting a pair of dagger threes. Gray stepped up to keep his team in it, first grabbing an offensive rebound and laying it back in. Flyers walled up on defence to force Anthony Collins into a costly travel and give Bristol a chance to seize the lead back.
Gray did not disappoint taking the short pass from Thomas and sinking a heavily contested step back three with just 0.2 seconds remaining. A Sharks timeout kept the Flyers faithful on the edge of their seats until Vigor then sealed the win by blocking a last chance effort from Tuck on the buzzer.