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Owen Parker


Posted Monday, February 19th 2018

Report: Oxford City Hoops 72-78 Bristol Flyers II

Bristol Flyers II brought home a tough road win over Oxford City Hoops at Henley College on Sunday afternoon.

The win sees Flyers II maintain pressure on league leaders Huish Taunton Tigers who remain just one win ahead.

What Happened

Flyers won the tip but misfired on a three attempt, setting a pattern of struggling from long range that would persist through the rest of the game. Both sides struggled to take care of the ball but turnovers and transition scoring were key in Flyers’ early success, going on an 8-0 run comprised entirely of fast break points. Flyers gained a 19 to 13 lead to close the first quarter.

The rapid pace and high turnover rate continued through the second period, with Flyers sometimes struggling to make an outlet pass having done the hard work of securing a defensive rebound. Bench scoring helped Flyers to further their lead with Rhys Farrell driving and drawing fouls before converting at the line. Jack Craggs made an impressive three point play, escaping a sideline trap, driving into the paint and elevating for a two handed dunk and-1. Foul trouble began to be a factor with key Oxford scorers Desta Rudder-Smith and Jamie Furlong having to take an extended rest.

The third quarter started well with big man Jakub Kulig making a three to give Flyers their largest lead of the game at 43 to 31. A scoring drought for the Flyers over a three minute stretch allowed Oxford to close to within three points. Flyers rallied and managed to recover some of their lead, but Oxford made another run, tying the game with one minute left in the third. Keliauskas and Farrell dug deep for further scoring, ending the quarter up four, 57 to 53.

Hoops kept up the pressure and seized the lead early in the fourth quarter. Flyers battled hard to keep it close, continuing to force turnovers and frustrate Oxford’s efforts to extend a lead. A pair of drives from Farrell allowed Flyers to regain the lead. With momentum shifted back into the Flyers favour, Rudder-Smith fouled out of the game with an offensive foul with just over a minute to play.

An ill-timed non-shooting foul on Curtly Ferguson as he grabbed a defensive rebound would send him to the line for two. Before he could take his shots Furlong was also ejected; his fifth a technical for arguing with the officials. This was followed by a bench technical as Furlong persisted to criticise the officials despite having fouled out. Flyers were unable to put the game out of reach on the resulting free throws, making just one of four. A further turnover gave Hoops an opportunity for a time out. With both leading scorers out of the game, Hoops drew up a play for Daniel Branigan, who calmly scored a three to bring the game within two points, 72-74.

Keliauskas responded and drew a further foul making both free throws to extend the lead back to four points. Hoops called time out again. Flyers’Coach Khan anticipated a similar play and drew up a zone defence to stay at the three point line. Keliauskas capitalised, grabbing a tenth steal to reclaim possession before being fouled and sent to the line again. Keliauskas remained composed at the stripe to hit another pair and seal the win, 72-78. Coach Khan named Keliauskas his MVP for the game with a 29 point 10 steal double double. He also drew ten fouls, five assists and two rebounds.

Farrell contributed 12 points, five rebounds and one block from the bench. Jamie Furlong led Hoops in scoring with 24 points, six steals, six rebounds and three assists, while Hoops Captain Desta Rudder-Smith had 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Flyers II play again on Saturday, February 24th against Surrey Rams with a 4pm tip at the WISE Arena. There is free entry so come along and show your support. 

Photos by Ashley Ross.