The Manchester Giants’ playoff hopes are over after an agonising late loss to the rival Bristol Flyers, who themselves now look set to take the 8th and final spot in May Madness.
With both sides still in with a chance to reach the postseason, it was a slog of a game right from the off. The two teams went back-and-forth and traded the lead throughout, with the Giants taking the first quarter and the visiting Flyers turning it around to take a 43-42 lead into halftime.
The third quarter has often been a period of complacency for the Giants this season, but they went against the stigma to snatch the lead back, which led to an unbelievably tense final 10 minutes. Sadly, it was the visitors who rallied, getting themselves to the line and hitting the big shots when they needed to as the Giants saw shot after shot roll out. With 11 seconds left on the clock and the ball in Sam Cassell Jr’s hand, the game seemed set for a grandstand finale, but the usually reliable guard missed his shot in excruciating fashion.
On a disappointing night for Manchester, there were some standout individual performances. Jordan Whelan led all scorers with a massive 26 points, and Justin Satchell wasn’t far behind with a 17pt, 8 rebound performance that featured a slew of his usual long 3 pointers. David Ulph once again showed he’s Mr. Reliable with 11pts and a mammoth 18 rebounds, and despite the late miss, Cassell Jr still ended with a respectable 14pts.
Eric Lockett was a marathon man for the Flyers, as he played the entire 40 minutes and finished with a double-double (19pts, 10 rebs), with Ben Mockford also coming up big late on to finish with 13pts of his own.
‘’I thought defensively the growth on that end of the floor has been great for us, the majority of the game we were pretty good, apart from a couple of plays, a couple of inches here and there, which were the difference. Bristol was able to punish us at times, they got some good looks and some little plays that really hurt us.’’ Said head Coach Lloyd Gardner
After a heart wrenching way to end our final home game, the Giants will look to end this season of ups-and-downs on a high note with their last game of the season on Wednesday night – a trip to the 2nd placed London Lions.
Words – Jordan Morris
Photo – Harry Collins