by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix overcame a slow start and obtained their fourth consecutive win against the Bristol Flyers.
The Nix took a while to get into their groove but once their offence started to click they never looked back. Ben Thomas’ men were under immense pressure as the head-to-head against the Flyers was on the line, however they managed to deliver a solid performance against one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Despite making 50% of their shots from the field, the Nix missed 17 out of 23 attempts from deep while the Flyers managed to convert 11 of their 28 three-point attempts (39% 3PT). American guard Trejon Jacob led the way with seven made triples.
The Nix won the rebounding battle by 39-to-38 and accumulated 20 assists on 12 turnovers. Phoenix’s bench duo of Kyle Carey and Noah Dickerson outscored Bristol’s three-man bench 10-0.
The Nix found points hard to come by in the beginning of the contest as they totalled just four in the opening five minutes. The Flyers weren’t much more prolific either as they added just three more than their opponents in the same timespan. Teddy Okereafor closed the first quarter with a 5-0 run of his own however the Nix went into the second frame trailing 13-to-17.
Thomas’ side blitzed their opponents at the start of the second act, as they embarked on a sizzling 11-0 run and kept the Flyers scoreless until the 5:29 mark. Cheshire’s offence remained productive for the rest of the first half as they finished with 38 points whilst keeping their opponents at bay, restricting them to an inferior 32 points at the interval.
The Nix gained their first double-digit lead of the night at the 8:16 mark of the third quarter, after Namon Wright drilled his first triple of the game. The Flyers replied with a dominant 16-to-4 run, which helped them get back on top just four minutes after Wright made his three-pointer. Cheshire went into the final three minutes of the penultimate quarter trailing by one point but eventually managed to flip the score in their favour as they took a 59-to-58 lead into the decisive quarter.
Phoenix opened the final frame with a 6-0 run and kept the Flyers scoreless until the 7:26 mark, when Malcolm Delpeche finally stopped the drought for the guests. Despite having a comfortable seven-point cushion on two occasions during the fourth quarter, the Nix found themselves just one point ahead of their opponents with five minutes remaining. The hosts delivered when it mattered most as they engineered an impressive 14-to-2 run which helped them obtain a 13-point lead with just 55 seconds remaining. Noah Dickerson, Michael Ochereobia, Larry Austin Jr, Levi Bradley and Namon Wright all contributed with clutch baskets in the dying minutes of the contest. Jacob knocked down a couple of three-pointers in the final minute of the game however Phoenix’s lead proved to be insurmountable as they ran out victorious 84-to-76.
Phoenix’s leading scorer, Wright, led the way once again as he totalled 20 points, three assists and three rebounds and two steals on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor.
The in-form American forward, Bradley, added 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and a couple of steals on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.
Austin delivered another great all-around performance as he tallied 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.