Dragons 104 vs Manchester Magic 95
Bradford Dragons battled through to the semi-finals of the English Basketball League with a phenomenal, unprecedented, double overtime victory against Manchester Magic 104-94.
Dragons were playing their final home game of the season and both Bradford and Manchester saved their most spectacular basketball for the most crucial time. The two sides could only be separated by two bouts of overtime after both sets of players left everything on the court. The Dragons are through to the final four of the league for the first time in their twelve year history.
In front of the biggest Den crowd of the season both teams began nervy. With the teams locked level it took Dragons' Ice cool Americans to make the difference. McGrew and Foley combined for nine early points.
With the score 11-9 Bradford veteran Vance Silcott entered and added some additional strength. He pulled down a flurry of offensive rebounds leading to scores for the home side. The first quarter finished 18-13 as Manchester appeared devoid of their recent form.
Dragons held the lead throughout the second quarter however the away side remained within touching distance. A low scoring first half ended 36-32.Bradford began the second half with a six point run, stretching their lead to ten points. The resilient Magic were then sparked into life by former Reading Rockets big man Ryan Lohfink who executed a three-point play.
Going into the fourth quarter the game was again balanced with the score 51-47 but Bradford again were looking to force the tempo. A three-pointer by Pearson, a free throw by Ashley and a stylish dunk by Sulcs pulled the Dragons to 61-54.But again Magic showed impressive fight and with a three from Pharroh Gordon the game was tied 62-62. From that point the sides could not be separated.
With a 72-72 final score line the contest was sent to overtime.For the first spell of the night Manchester looked like the more likely side they drew to a five point lead with just one minute to go. Nathan Ashley had other ideas and with 17 seconds to play in overtime he scored a three pointer in off the backboard to tie the game, with the Den rocking the game was extended again for another five minutes of action.
This time Dragons made no mistake. With centre Chris McGrew fouled out Bradford were forced to play small. Unfazed by this the depleted Dragons team fought to eventual victory.Dan Foley scored a game high 32 points but nothing should be taken away from a tremendous full team effort. And also to an unlucky Manchester Magic side who could've just as easily won this match up