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Report: Bristol Flyers 89-81 Manchester Giants (OT)

Bristol Flyers survived a late comeback attempt and beat the Manchester Giants 89-81 to move one-step closer to the play-offs.

Led by Leslee Smith with 19 points and 15 rebounds, Flyers travel to Surrey in tomorrow's season finale looking to secure the eighth and final play-off spot. 

What Happened?

Flyers final home game opened up in front of a sold out SGS WISE arena bursting with anticipation.

Bristol drew first blood on their initial possession, as Smith scored on a reverse lay-up off the glass. Flyers then stopped the Giants attack and charged up the court, Hameed Ali found Smith on a no-look pass for another bucket.

Bristol worked tirelessly on defence and Manchester did not score in the first three minutes of the quarter. Flyers made a point of playing an up tempo game, as they looked to push the break at every opportunity. This provided a glut of high percentage shots and allowed Bristol to build an early lead.

The visitors looked to get back into the game as Harold Trobo drove into the lane for the two-pointer. Giants' Jerelle Okoro followed suit and slashed to the rim for a two-handed dunk.

Although Flyers held a double-digit lead for the majority of the first, their offence was cooling down as they shot only 25% from the field for the quarter. They maintained their lead by getting second chance opportunities and taking advantage of their 24-11 rebounding edge.

As the period came to a close, Greg Streete was put to the foul line and scored both free-throws for his 999th and 1000th point as a Flyer.

Flyers entered the second quarter leading 21-9 but it was Giants who came out the aggressors, as Trobo scored a quick two-pointer. Bristol countered with Mike Vigor, who scored 15 first-half points and went 3 for 3 from the three-point line for the half.

Vigor was feeling it offensively, as he connected on a lay-up and two three-pointers to push the home team lead 15 points. Though both teams struggled from the field, as neither squad shot over 30% for the half.

Giants attempted to pick up the pace as they streamed forward looking for the fastbreak. Manchester's captain Callum Jones connected with Okoro in the open court for an And-1 slam dunk.

On the following possession Jones was fouled in the act of shooting and sunk both free throws to cut the Flyers' lead to single digits. In the final seconds of the quarter, Giants again raced up court for the lay-up. Suddenly Bristol's advantage was cut to just four points, the scoreline at the half 33-29.

Flyers had allowed Giants to get back into the game and were in danger of giving up their lead.

Bristol came into the third on fire. Aaron Cosby and Brandon Boggs hit a three-pointer each to start the third to regain a double-digit cushion. Cosby then drove straight at Trobo and was hammered, the foul was deemed unsportsman like which resulted in a free-throw and possession.

Cosby continued his assault with another triple to add to Flyers' advantage.

Manchester stopped the bleeding with a late third quarter run of their own. Richard Bell got inside and aggressively dunked the ball hard, Jones followed with a beautiful spin move and fade away bank shot to bring the game within 11. Giants' captain shouldered the load by scoring their next six points, single handedly dragging Manchester back into the contest.

As the fourth quarter drew near the Flyers led 57-53.

Daniel Edozie gets the rebound

Bristol opened the final period with six unanswered points, with Streete and Smith connecting on a three-pointer each.

Though as they had done all game long, Manchester came back. Giants' Okoro fired a quick triple of his own, this was followed by a fastbreak score to bring the contest within three points.

The visitors turned up their defence as they fought round screens, moved their feet and kept their hands in the passing lanes resulting in deflections.

As the game entered into its final two minutes, Manchester tied the game at 69 apiece, behind a Dean Wanliss three-pointer and an Okoro lay-up. Okoro then gave Giants the lead with only a minute remaining.

The teams traded three-pointers in the final moments. The crowd electric on every score. With 15 seconds remaining Flyers were down by two points but Ali found Smith on an alley-oop to send the home crowd into a frenzy and the game into overtime.

Overtime ensued to a chorus of the home fans, captivated with the furious finish of the game. Smith gave Flyers the lead with a lay-up but this was countered by Trobo on a leak-out dunk.

Bristol began to pull away behind Cosby and Smith scores, allowing Flyers to take a five point advantage. Jones then barrelled his way to the hoop only for his shot to be rejected by Daniel Edozie.

Despite a relatively quiet game, in the clutch, Ali was flawless. By drawing contact time and time again, Ali closed the game out with timely free-throws. Flyers win 89-81.

Play Of The Game

Photo Of The Night

Brandon Boggs makes the layup

Europa Group Player Of The Game: Leslee Smith

Social Media Post Of The Night

Game Leaders

Points: Harold Trobo - 20
Assists: Hameed Ali, Callum Jones - 11
Rebounds: Leslee Smith - 21

Box Score: