Report: Worcester Wolves 77-80 Bristol Flyers
Friday, October 5th 2018
Bristol Flyers held off a late comeback from a resilient Worcester Wolves to claim their second league win of the season.
A clutch three-pointer from Lewis Champion put the nail in the coffin for Coach K’s side, who improve to 2-1 on the season heading into Saturday’s clash against Glasgow Rocks.
Wolves started active with a fast break lay-up by Jordan Whelan, which was shorting answers back with pair of free throw from Daniel Edozie.
Flyers struggled to contain Adam Thoseby in the early goings, with him scoring from both beyond the arc and in the lane. Justin Gray made a great defensive play standing strong in the post and drawing an offensive foul from Wolves centre Filip Kramer.
The Flyers’ bigs fed off further paint scoring with Delpeche amassing seven points in the first and Edozie joining in with sharpshooting from the elbow. With Jalan McCloud injured in the early going. Flyers brought in Champion and Tevin Falzon from the bench.
The substitutes immediately impacted the game with Champion deflecting a pass and leaking out for the lay-in and Falzon knocking down a sweet turnaround in the post. Offensive rebounding continued to fuel the Flyers offence with Gray hauling down the ball and passing to Falzon for a lay-up.
Delpeche checked back in with two minutes remaining and went straight back to work in the post, making a hook shot. Flyers found themselves in the penalty and transition scoring allowed Worcester to level the score. Flyers answered with a beautiful display of ball movement with Chris Taylor the beneficiary of a dime from Panos Mayindombe to take it 20-22 at the end of the first.
Flyers started the second quarter going back to the same successful actions with Delpeche in the paint again. Wolves wised to the play - a Crawford steal on a post entry pass led to a Darrell Combs lay-up on the other end.
It was deja vu as Crawford stole the ball again on the next possession, this time releasing Daniel Johnson-Thomspon to tie the game back up. Coach Kapoulas called time out and charged his team to find stops on defence and execute on offence. Fred Thomas responded with a go ahead three. The defence also picked up with Flyers finding multiple stops including a Thomas block on Wolves captain Thoseby and Champion drawing a charge from Combs.
Following another offensive rebound, Tevin Falzon found himself wide open in the corner and calmly sank the triple. Champion continued to pre-empt Combs moves and drew a second charge minutes later to force his assignment to the bench.
Flyers kept the defensive intensity high, forcing a 24 second violation, but struggled to convert on the other end. Wolves head coach Ty Shaw called timeout, but could not end the drought with Flyers digging deep for further stops.
Wolves guard Miki Servera managed to organise a switch and then pulled up for a three pointer, but Champion responded straightaway with more inside scoring to send the team into half-time ahead 29-38.
With both teams shooting poorly from outside in the first half, it was working hard in the paint that was key to Flyers success; they out-rebounded Wolves 27 to 15 in the first half and scored 22 points in the paint.
Fred Thomas opened the second half knocking down a pull-up three. A sequence of scrappy play led to the teams trading baskets. Wolves were able to draw steals and a two handed slam from Filip Kramer temporarily energised the home crowd.
Gray answered with a spot up triple and Thomas showed that he was heating up with a second three. Not to be outdone, Gray rose in the corner and knocked down another three the next trip down the floor to force a Wolves timeout.
Wolves were unable to curtail Flyers momentum and another stop led to a one handed throw down for Daniel Edozie. Another charge drawn at the basket gave Flyers a chance to turn defence into offence once again. Jordan Nicholls turned the corner on the pick and roll and threw a laser pass to Mayindombe who swished the three.
Wolves continued to struggle to contain Delpeche, who drew multiple fouls and did his damage at the line. A pair of Wolves turnovers allowed Flyers to stamp their authority on the period with a pair of statement dunks. Justin Gray made a huge tomahawk slam and next time down Jordan Nicholls made a behind the back pass to a trailing Marcus Delpeche for a huge two-hander. Flyers finished the quarter ahead 43-68.
The fourth period started with both teams struggling to make shots. Wolves managed to cut into the deficit with strong drives from Combs and Thoseby to force a Flyers timeout. Filip Kramer fouled out on the next possession and Edozie took advantage of the starting centre sitting down to make a step back jump shot in the lane.
Wolves’ active hands on defence led to another steal and Thoseby was able to get separation and hit a three. Gray made a pull up next time down and Flyers continued to exploit Kramer’s absence with Edozie getting to the foul line. Wolves forward Crawford found the basket for a three pointer and aggressive drives from Combs gave him multiple trips to the line.
Having seen free throws go down, Combs was dialled in and hit a three next time out. Further Flyers turnovers allowed Wolves to get out and run and the lead was cut to eight. Combs continued to push the tempo and draw fouls. A series of turnovers allowed Crawford to hit an open to cut the lead to three. Press defence forced another turnover and Wolves remained hot from the arc with Combs scoring yet another three to tie the game and force a Flyers time out.
Gray was unable to connect on the subsequent three point shot but the loose ball was picked up by Crawford with his heel out of bounds giving Flyers another look. Step up lewis Champion.
His composure and bravery put Flyers back ahead with less than twenty seconds to play as the team gritted their teeth for a final defensive sequence and were able to force the key final miss to claim the game 77-80.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
A passionate fan of basketball since 1995, Owen has been involved with the Bristol Flyers since 2012 initially as a fan during the NBL Div 1 days, then as a volunteer and since 2016/2017 as a club statistician.
You’ll find him sat at the table courtside at WISE recording stats on his laptop at home games. He is also a table official and the manager of the Flyers II.