Gladiators Men vs Bristol Flyers 85-82

On paper, tonight’s game between the Caledonia Gladiators and Bristol Flyers at the Playsport Arena looked like a close contest. Both teams had recorded eight wins so far this season and they shared ambitions of breaking into the top three.

However, they found themselves in different veins of form. Bristol arrived hoping to end a four-game losing streak, having failed to win since their last meeting. Meanwhile, the Gladiators simply aimed to establish some consistency with consecutive victories, as they had struggled to gain any real momentum over the last month.

The sides lead the league in rebounds per game, due to their bruising presence in the paint, so it was hardly surprising when both teams prioritised early post play. Caledonia’s Fahro Alihodzic and Bristol’s Brad Greene picked up the opening points for their teams.

The Flyers scored by committee throughout the first half. Greene and Raphell Thomas-Edwards lead them on offence, but they initially struggled to break the lead that Caledonia established in the opening quarter.

Then came Trejon Jacob, who provided Bristol with their offensive spark in the second quarter. The bench guard finished the first half with 11 points and four rebounds, ensuring his team took a five-point lead into the break.

Bristol’s aggressive play carried over into the third quarter, as they returned from the locker room determined to widen their lead. After a relatively quiet first half, Rowell Graham-Bell caught fire, posing a shooting threat from behind the arc and scoring 10 points in the quarter.

The Flyers established an eight point lead, but Caledonia weren’t going anywhere. As he so often does, Patrick Whelan stepped up for the Gladiators with an assured scoring burst and the Scottish side were back in contention. When Ian DuBose scored consecutive baskets with five minutes remaining in the competition, the game was tied.

The teams went blow for blow down the stretch, with a huge DuBose three giving Caledonia the advantage, before a pair of Bristol free throws brought the deficit to just one point with a minute remaining.

Gareth Murray’s team missed a free throw out of a timeout, but earned a chance for to close the game out by forcing a Flyers turnover with just nine seconds on the clock.

The Flyers tactical fouls came and Ian DuBose sunk a pair from the stripe to push the lead back to three. When CJ Jackson missed a Hail Mary in the final seconds, the Gladiators secured the narrow victory to move up to third place in the league.

Gladiators Women vs Namur Capitale 65-50

Caledonia Gladiators returned to Euro Cup action again this evening where they faced Namur Capitale of Belgium in their final group game. The team came away with a 65-50 loss. Their first of the season. There was a huge opportunity to win the group after succeeding in their first 3 games, doing the double over Benfica and defeating Namur at home. Unfortunately they couldn’t see it out. Despite losing the game Caledonia could still have placed top of the group but the margin of defeat was just too much.

The Gladiators started with high energy, displaying solid defense and sharp offensive plays. Their teamwork was evident as they managed to maintain a narrow lead over the opponent. Despite some missed opportunities, they finished the quarter behind 15-13.

The tides turned as the opposing team intensified their defence, disrupting the Gladiators’ rhythm. However Gladiators were able to keep the momentum going, overturning the Namur advantage heading into halftime with a one-point advantage.

Determined to keep this momentum going, the Gladiators regrouped during the break. They came back onto the court with renewed vigour, attempting to extend the gap. However, the opponent’s relentless offense and effective rebounding thwarted the Gladiators’ efforts. The quarter ended with the Gladiators trailing by a single point..

Despite their unwavering fighting spirit, the Gladiators faced an uphill battle in the final quarter. Fatigue began to set in as they struggled to contain the opponent’s offense. The Gladiators fought until the last second, but unfortunately, Namur where just too strong defensively and saw out the final quarter with a 15 point advantage.