CHESHIRE Phoenix put themselves within one game of the BBL Trophy final after ruthlessly dispatching EBL minnows Bristol Academy Flyers at the Northgate Arena on Sunday night.
In front of a full house in fine voice, the Nix proved a step too far for the Flyers who were put to the sword with a combination of clinical shooting and strong defence as the home side racked up a 85-56 victory.
In truth, the game as a contest looked all but over by the end of the first quarter as the Nix flew out of the blocks and immediately found their groove, showing their finesse in the paint and strength in defence.
Nix guard Reggie Middleton showcased his class with two huge rejections as the home side enjoyed a 12-0 stretch without reply, while new-boy Michael Creppy drained an emphatic three-pointer on the buzzer to see the Nix to a 30-11 lead at the end of the first period.
Despite the Nix starting the second period with successive threes, the Flyers, who saw off BBL opposition in the shape of Surrey United in the last round, looked a more composed unit and tightened up their defence to make life more difficult for Nix head coach John Lavery’s charges.
However, the Flyers’ inability to convert proved their downfall, posting a less than impressive 26% field goal accuracy. Greg Street, hailed as the man to watch for the Bristolian visitors pre-game, was a largely anonymous figure as the Flyers' struggled to cope with the Nix class, with the home side going in 47-26 at the break.
The third period saw the Nix head to the line on a number of occasions as the tiring Flyers gave away several cheap fouls, much to the annoyance of their animated head coach, Andreas Copoulas.
Victor Moses, the BBL Player of the Month for January, showed why he is one of the hottest properties in the league this season with a huge alley-oop from a Middleton assist as he ended the game’s top scorer with 25 points, posting 83% field goal accuracy.
With the Nix heading in to the final quarter with a 30-point lead at 68-38, the home faithful were in celebratory mood.
The final period saw the Nix remain in control and provided an opportunity for Lavery to give some valuable game time to his young bench, with Sam Lavery, Danny Miller and Jordan Smith all taking to the court to see out the final minutes.
While the final score demonstrated the Nix dominance, the visitors, who will join the BBL next season, played their part in an absorbing encounter and can be rightly proud of making it as far as the quarter finals.
The Nix were the second team to make the semi finals following the One Health Sheffield Sharks 74-60 victory over Plymouth University Raiders last week.