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Report: Leeds Force 91-88 Bristol Flyers (OT)

Leeds Force claimed the all important series decider in the play-off race against Bristol Flyers, running out 91-88 winners in overtime at the Leeds Beckett University.

With the series tied at one win apiece, both sides knew the importance of a win in this game. A win for either would see them hold the advantage at the end of the season if points are level in the table.

Tyrone Lee returned from injury, coming off the bench for Flyers, whilst Rob Marsden was impressive in the opening stages for Force, having also recently returned from a spell on the sidelines.

Force began strongly with a 9-2 run before 12 first quarter points from Cardell McFarland helped Flyers tie the score at half-time 17-17.

Flyers opened up a nine-point lead midway through the third thanks to some impressive play from Daniel Edozie, on his way to ten first-half rebounds.

Coach K's men passed up several chances to extend the lead during this period, a succession of missed shots allowing Force to edge back into it. Flyers lead was reduced to just two at the half, 39-41.

A pensive start to the third saw neither team pull away with a big lead, Flyers finding more rhythm in their offence as time wore on, heading into the fourth up by six, 52-58.

Just three points from the Flyers and some improved shooting from the home side meant that with four minutes gone in the fourth, Leeds had somehow turned a six-point deficit into a six-point lead.

Flyers captain Greg Streete had other ideas however, grabbing two threes to turn it into a one-point game with five minutes left on the clock.

The next couple of minutes were nip and tuck before a big three from Louis Sayers handed Leeds a five-point lead. A turnover from the visitors gave Force the chance to close out the game with a minute left, but the otherwise impressive Kwan Waller missed a three-pointer. 

This turned the momentum in Flyers favour, getting to within two of their opponents with 21 seconds left. Force went to the free throw line, however Armand Anebo made only one of his attempts.

Doug McLaughlin-Williams picked up the offensive rebound from Streete's missed three before the ball found it's way to McFarland who sunk a three on the buzzer to send the game into overtime, 80-80.

Spurred on by the home crowd, Force opened up a five-point lead in overtime. Flyers again refused to know when they were beaten, dragging themselves back to within one point, and when Tyrone Lee grabbed a defensive rebound with 20 seconds left there appeared to be only one winner.

Good defensive work from Force meant Flyers were unable to work an easy opening, Streete eventually missing another three attempt, with Force closing the game out with a converted two.

McFarland finished with a joint game-high 23, alongside Leeds' Marek Klassen. Edozie leading the game in rebounds with 13.

Flyers will hope they can do enough in the rest of the season that this series loss doesn't affect their play-off chances.

Reaction and highlights to follow.

Box Score: http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/BBL/133815/index.html

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