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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Jack Guthrie

Bristol Flyers head coach says BBL Trophy exit was 'not good enough'

Bristol Flyers were knocked out of the BBL Trophy by Surrey Scorchers as the visitors to SGS College delivered a strong defensive performance which allowed them to build up a comfortable lead and progress to the second round as 78-72 victors.

VJ King’s 15 points was the highest personal total for the Flyers, but their standout player was captain Mike Miller who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Padiet Wang and Boban Jacdonmi led the Scorchers with 18-each. Jacdonmi also completed his double-double with 12 rebounds, capping off a strong performance from the bench.

Flyers head coach Andreas Kapoulas was disappointed by the result, saying: “It wasn’t good enough. It’s a disappointing performance, we didn’t move the ball well on offence - had a lot of turnovers, especially in the second half - and too many defensive breakdowns.

“Credit to them they moved the ball well, executed their game plan. Our decision making was not good and we paid the price. It’s a tough loss to take at home. We’re out of this competition and it’s a shame. We’ve got to learn from this.”

Bristol were the team that flew out of the blocks early, thanks to Malcolm Delpeche’s lay in before King tested his range and knocked down the deep three. Surrey’s first point came from Wang at the charity stripe - Flyers retaliated with two more scores.

The opening stages were close between the sides. Jacdonmi checked into the game and got his scoring going with a two handed flush to make it a two-point game, before Flyers got the hot hand and went on a 10-nothing run including back-to-back triples from Corey Samuels.

King and Thomas Bell closed out the quarter with their scoring and pushed the lead going into the first break to 15 points. Surrey had been stunned in the first period, scoring only 11-points.

The teams came out for the second quarter and Bristol looked to continue their good work from the first. They widened the gap to 17 points, and suddenly momentum swung in favour of the Scorchers. Jacdonmi continued to be the focal point in the paint, with the front court duo of Andrew Lawrence and Jalen Ray continuing to find him.

There was a three-and-a-half minute stretch where Bristol couldn’t find the bottom of the basket towards the end of the half. Surrey took advantage and closed in.

Flyers were up by 15 with over four minutes left on the clock. Scorchers went on a 14-nothing run to bring the game back within a score. Delpeche and Jacdonmi traded lay-ups, and Bristol had a slender 39-38 lead at the half.

The visitors’ momentum continued into the third quarter, as Wang opened with seven-consecutive points for Surrey, starting with the heat-check from behind the arc; before throwing down two incredible jams. Flyers did well to stay in touching distance until that point, but the away sides’ confidence brewed after the aerial display from Wang and they took a grip of the game once more.

Surrey maintained a gap within the high single-digits from that point, with the home scores coming few and far between.

Bristol started conceding fouls which allowed the Scorchers to keep the scoreboard ticking. Lawrence and Ray pushed the lead out to double digits at the end of the quarter, but with three seconds on the clock

Flyers inbounded the ball and found Bell who drained the buzzer-beating three from just inside the opposing half. The Surrey lead was cut to eight, with the home support hoping that the buzzer-beater was a momentum shifting moment.

After three quarters of one-sided basketball, the final period was the most competitive. Bristol had a chance to make a late and dramatic comeback, and Surrey needed to ensure they didn’t slip up in the closing stages.

Lawrence and Tevin Olison traded three-balls, and scores continued to come at both ends - both teams looking to establish a final foothold. Some of the Flyers play got desperate as they looked to shave down the deficit.

Bodies were flying around the court, looking to win every 50/50 and loose ball they could. Despite good hustle, their struggles from the field continued. Miller stepped up late on to provide a quick scoring surge with consecutive triples to cut the lead to eight.

Wang got a bucket thanks to a friendly bounce off the back-iron and looked to seal the result for the away side. Late threes and some missed Scorchers free-throws helped Flyers come back late on, however it was too late and Surrey progressed to the second round with a six-point win.

Flyers’ next game sees them return to league action, visiting the Sheffield Sharks on Friday, January 20 for a televised ‘Delpeche Derby’ on Sky Sports. They will then return home on Sunday, January 22 to host the Newcastle Eagles to top-off another double-header weekend.

“We have a couple of days to shake this off, we’ve got two tough games in league play - we have to focus on league play now," Kapoulas added. "Both are difficult games, playing away at Sheffield and then Newcastle at home with quick turnaround. We’ve just got to spend time in practice, improve, make sure we go through our game plan, and we’ve got to be ready to go.

“It’s a setback, but we’ve got to think of the long run and hopefully this will help us to be a better team in the future.”

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