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Owen Parker

Owen Parker writes

Posted Sunday, January 21st 2018

Report: Bristol Flyers II 57-54 Taunton Huish Tigers

Bristol Flyers II secured a crucial victory against league leaders Huish Taunton Tigers at the WISE Arena.

The game was hard fought, with Flyers holding on for a three point margin at the final buzzer in the second clash between the two teams in seven days.


What happened

Coach Khan tasked the Flyers with running an aggressive defence to limit paint scoring which was their undoing in the previous game. The team delivered with constant ball pressure forcing 28 turnovers and converting these into 16 points in the game.

Curtly Ferguson and Jordan Daniels led the improved defence on the Tigers forwards: Daniels led the team in rebounding with eight boards; Ferguson was close behind with seven rebounds and three steals; and Kulig held his assignment Chris Alexander to just four points, down from 23 in the previous game.

Berwin Wilks delivered the touch-down pass to Jermaine Major over the Tigers defence for the fast break score.

Flyers struggled from long range and Tigers continued to do a great job of containing drives in the half court so the transition opportunities the Flyers created were key in keeping their offensive momentum going. Flyers took a nine point lead lead into the locker room at half time, 37 to 28.

Ebuka Ekwegh drove baseline for a fast break layup – he led Flyers in scoring with 12 points.

The third quarter was the Flyers’ worst in the game as they struggled to score and allowed Tigers to close in on their lead. The three ball just would not fall for Flyers and they ended the game just three for 21 from beyond the arc with Gus Campbell, their lone highlight from long range at two for four. Tigers similarly struggled to connect from deep but nevertheless closed the gap to just three points at the end of the third quarter, Flyers 44 to Tigers 41.

With Aiden Khan sidelined by an ankle injury new addition Alex DeHaan covered some crucial minutes at point guard. In limited minutes after just a week of training, he pitched in on the team defensive effort with a steal of his own.

An intense fourth quarter saw Taunton twice narrow the lead to just one point. Flyers stuck to the defensive game plan and key defensive plays down the stretch including a block from Ekwegh and steals from Ferguson and Campbell kept the Tigers at bay.

Tigers had a shot to win the game but it did not fall and Flyers Captain Aistis Keliauskas grabbed the rebound. Tigers guard Igors Kuznecovs fouled him with a push in the back. Keliauskas sealed the victory with two made free throws as the penalty for the unsportmanlike foul. His calm, collected composure was reparation for the frustration that boiled over for him and other Flyers players at the end of the previous fixture in Taunton.

The victory sees Flyers improve to nine wins and two losses in National League Division four South West. Tigers remain ahead of them, but not out of reach with 11 wins and two losses. In the event of both teams finishing the 22 game season with an equal win loss record, overall points difference will determine the league winner. 

Images by Tony Parker.

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