Patriots fall to the Bristol Flyers on opening night in the British Basketball League.

Patriots fall to the Bristol Flyers on opening night in the British Basketball League.

The Plymouth City Patriots tipped off their 2023/24 British Basketball League campaign Friday night in Bristol, but didn't get the start they wanted.

The South West Derby, which has consistently excited fans across the nation, took place at SGS Arena in Bristol on Friday night, with the home team Flyers taking the victory 82-65. The game started off as a competitive affair, with the new look Patriots impressing the mass of travelling Plymouth fans early on, with fluid play and good shot selection. Both teams were missing players due to injury, but regardless, the early going seemed fast paced and relatively even on the court. However, towards the end of the first quarter the home team found another gear and pulled out to a six point lead. The Flyers momentum continued into the second quarter and by halftime, their lead was stretched to fourteen points, not to mention holding the Patriots to just ten points for the entire quarter.

In the third quarter with the game threatening to be a blow out the Flyers turned the screw once more and stretched their lead to twenty five points, putting the game out of the Patriots reach.

The visitors did rally in the final quarter, but it was too little too late for the Plymouth side, who managed to close the gap to seventeen points at the final buzzer.

Coach Paul James was somewhat philosophical after the game, saying "It wasn't the start to the season we wanted, but it's game one and we've got plenty of things to work out." Coach James also added, "we've got to take the positives out of this game, but more importantly look to adjust and be better and more consistent moving forward."

The Patriots will be on the road again this weekend, taking on former BBL champions the Leicester Riders, Friday night at the Morningside Arena. The traveling Patriots fans will no doubt head to Leicester en masse with a hope that the early setback will quickly be a thing of the past.

Pablo Cheeks

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