Report: Bristol Flyers 63-68 Cheshire Phoenix
Saturday, January 26th 2019
Bristol Flyers were unable to complete a fourth quarter comeback against the visiting Cheshire Phoenix.
Having trailed by as many as 12 points at the end of the third period, Coach K’s men produced a late fightback as to make it a one possession game inside the final 30 seconds, before Daniel Norl and Dii’Jon Allen-Jordan saw it out from the free-throw line.
Tevin Falzon was the Flyers player of the game with 13 points and eight rebounds. Lewis Champion matched his 13 points whilst Cheshire’s latest signing Jalen Hayes had 17 points to lead all scorers.
Flyers weathered a hot start from the Phoenix, with Momcilo Latinovic CJ Gettys piling on the early pressure to quickly build an 11-2 lead to force a quick timeout from Coach Kapoulas. Flyers looked for Lewis Champion and he responded with a three and a trip to the foul line, netting the first seven points for his team. Latinovic hit another three, but Tevin Falzon splashed a triple of his own in response. Champion followed up with another three-pointer to give him ten points in the period. Jordan Nicholls was next to spot up from the arc, sinking a three to tie the game at 16 points apiece.
With Justin Gray nursing an ankle injury, Flyers were short handed. Point guard Jalan McCloud made a timely return from injury after missing the past two games and brought energy from the bench early on - driving through the Phoenix defence to give Flyers their first lead of the game, 20-17.
Allen-Jordan opened the second period with three baskets in a row, including a fast break dunk. Mike Vigor marked Australia day with a hard drive to the basket and a score. Latinovic remained a problem for Flyers at the perimeter adding another quick five points. Fred Thomas made a pair of strong offensive plays to cut the deficit to two, whilst McCloud continued to find seams in the Phoenix defence,
With Lewis Champion having had a high-scoring first quarter, his former Reading Rockets junior team mate Louis Sayers got hot to close out the second, hitting a long two and a three-pointer to put Phoenix ahead 34-39 at the half.
Hayes took over the scoring after the break, dropping six points in a hurry to force another Flyers time-out. McCloud found himself open from deep and took his time to line up a three-pointer. The ball found Edozie at the top of the key next time down the floor and he hit the open jump-shot.
Allen-Jordan fed Gettys for a dunk on the break to give Phoenix their biggest lead of the game at 12 points. Vigor again pressured the paint on offence, drawing a foul and then making a basket. Allen-Jordan closed the quarter with a three-pointer to keep the lead at 12, Flyers down 44-56.
The home side opened the fourth period with a 7-0 run to fuel the Flyers faithful. Bristol locked in on defence and Thomas grabbed a rebound before going coast to coast to cut the lead to just three points. A dagger three from Hayes caused a setback, but Flyers kept their momentum going. McCloud and Champion were both able to get to the line but only hit one of their foul shots each. Missed free throws would prove costly for the home side, going 9/16 from the line. McCloud was able to split the defence for another lay-up to cut the lead to two. Gettys answered with an offensive put-back.
With time running out, McCloud missed a pull-up three and then fouled Norl who hit both free throws to put the lead at six points with under a minute remaining. Coach Kapoulas called time-out and drew up a play, but all seemed lost when the inbounds pass was intercepted. Flyers scrambled and managed to reclaim the ball allowing Falzon to hit a heroic three through contact from Norl to again bring the game within two points
Flyers were overzealous with their pressure defence and Norl took another trip to the line, this time missing a crucial free throw. With under 30 seconds remaining Coach Kapoulas took his last time out to look for a game-tying shot. The ball found McCloud in the corner but his step back three was wide of the mark. Allen-Jordan grabbed the rebound and Flyers were forced to foul again, allowing him to seal the game at the line.