Report: Bristol Flyers 62-76 Leicester Riders
Saturday, March 27th 2021
Bristol Flyers couldn’t keep pace with the league-leading Leicester Riders in their second game of the weekend.
Justin Baker led Flyers with 14 points, but Flyers fall to 8-12 on the season heading into Tuesday’s rematch in Leicester.
With usual starting point guard Geno Crandall out, Conner Washington started for the Riders and gave them their first lead with a driving lay-up. Justin Baker splashed a three pointer and Eric Lockett drove in for a score to wrestle back the lead.
Ben Mockford brought instant offence from the bench, spotting up for a three and then driving through traffic for a lay-up. Josh Rogers also brought bench energy, keeping the second chance opportunities coming for Flyers. Rogers put his team ahead 17-15 after one quarter.
Aaron Falzon put Riders back in front early with a three point play and Darien Nelson-Henry troubled Bristol’s defence for easy scores under the basket, forcing Coach Kapoulas to call time out.
Eric Lockett ended the scoring drought for the hosts, but outside shooting from Jamell Anderson kept the lead growing for Riders, but a pair of three pointers from Josh Wilcher forced a Riders timeout.
Lockett tied the game with a strong transition drive and trip to the foul line. Cory Johnson heated up for Leicester to open it up with a pair of three-pointers. A Justin Baker corner three undid some of the damage and William Lee edged Riders further ahead from the foul line to close the first half 34-39.
Riders started strong after the break with Washington spotting up from mid-range in a 6-0 burst to open a double digit lead. Baker posted up for two points, but Washington turned provider, feeding Corey Johnson for a dagger three. With the lead in double figures Coach Kapoulas called for time.
With Riders in early foul trouble, Lockett and Okereafor worked their way to the line to keep the points coming. Washington banked home a triple, but a well-timed trap from Mockford and Okereafor resulted in a breakaway score. With Lee and Edozie trading baskets late in the quarter, Flyers were unable to cut further into the lead, closing the third 52-62.
Points proved hard to come by for Bristol and Riders continued to grow their lead with Flyers offence faltering. Wilcher found Thomas-Edwards on a strong cut to the basket on a baseline out of bounds play for another two but Washington was there again with an answer. The guard played all 40 minutes and led all scorers with 22 points adding nine rebounds and seven assists.
A baseline dunk from Heron gave Coach Kapoulas cause for a timeout with the deficit at a game-high 15 points. Another defensive breakdown for Flyers saw Heron driving straight down the lane for a dunk minutes later, putting the game further out of control and another timeout needed.
Flyers were unable to come up with the answers they needed to close the margin. Justin Baker tightened the gap with a couple of late scores to make it 62-76 at the finish.