Match report by Scott Laidlaw

It was both teams’ last game of the regular season. Bristol came into this game with a record of 16 wins and 19 losses, placing them 7th. The Caledonia Gladiators arrived off the back of a 96-81 win at home against Plymouth City Patriots the previous Sunday, boasting a record of 22 wins and 13 losses, sitting 3rd in the table.

The starting five for Bristol were Tejon Lucas, Tevin Olison, Raphell Thomas-Edwards, and Brad Greene. For the Caledonia Gladiators, it was Mike Bothwell, Fraser Malcolm, Patrick Whelan, Clifton Moore Jr, and Lukas Palyza.

Bristol Flyers started the game with a 6-0 run, including 2 free throws, but the Gladiators then countered with a 0-7 run, with 5 points coming from Mike Bothwell, giving them their first lead. Both teams made errors, but Patrick Whelan’s 3-pointer pushed the Gladiators to an 8-10 lead going into the timeout. Bristol came out firing after the break, with Thomas-Edwards sinking their first 3-pointer, initiating a 7-0 run to lead 15-10. Despite both teams missing shots, Bristol had better luck with the ball. Caledonia struggled from the free-throw line, going 1 for 4 in the first quarter. They then went on a 0-5 run, making it a one-point game, with Bristol Flyers leading 17-16 against Caledonia Gladiators at the end of the first quarter.

as Bristol Flyers play Caledonia Gladiators in the British Basketball League on April 19, 2024 at the SGS Arena, England. (Photo by Will Cooper/Bristol Flyers)

Bristol scored the first points of the second quarter to tie the game at 21-21, then went on a 4-0 run to lead 23-21. Caledonia responded to tie the game at 23-23. Prince scored a bucket and completed a 3-point play after being fouled, giving the Gladiators a 1-point lead, 25-26. Bristol scored again to force Coach Murray into a timeout. Bristol continued their run, making it 29-26. With five minutes until halftime, it was Bristol Flyers 29-28 Caledonia Gladiators. Caledonia narrowed the gap to tie again at 31-31, but Bristol went on another 4-0 run to lead 35-31. The halftime score was Bristol Flyers 39-36 Caledonia Gladiators, setting the stage for an intense second half.

The leading scorers at halftime were Raphell Thomas-Edwards with 11 points for Bristol Flyers and Mike Bothwell with 9 points for the Caledonia Gladiators.

The third quarter started with traded buckets, keeping the Flyers’ 2-point lead. Gladiators hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the quarter, initiating a 0-5 run. With five minutes left in the quarter, it was Bristol Flyers 43-44 Caledonia Gladiators at the TV timeout. Flyers came out of the timeout with a 6-0 run to lead 47-44. However, the Gladiators responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 47-47 and then went on a 0-9 run to lead by 6 points, 47-53. The third quarter ended with Bristol Flyers trailing 51-55 against Caledonia Gladiators, setting up an exciting final quarter.

Caledonia Gladiators missed 2 free throws at the start of the fourth quarter, with the Flyers starting the quarter with a 5-2 run, narrowing the gap to 1 point. A timeout by Coach Murray saw the Gladiators respond with a 5-0 run, leading 56-62. With five minutes remaining, it was Bristol Flyers 60-67 Caledonia Gladiators. Both teams traded baskets to maintain the 7-point gap. Patrick Whelan’s 3-pointer extended the Gladiators’ lead to 10 points, 62-72. The Flyers then went on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to 6 points, making it 66-72. The quarter ended with Bristol Flyers trailing 75-80 against Caledonia Gladiators.

The top scorers for the Bristol Flyers were Raphell Thomas-Edwards with 17 points and for the Caledonia Gladiators, it was Mike Bothwell with a stat line of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The MVP was Mike Bothwell with a stat line of 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.

🏀  Catch the Gladiators Women’s team in action this Sunday in our crucial meeting with Leicester Riders!