Dragons Blaze into the Quarter Final
Bradford Dragons secured their place in the quarter finals of the National Cup, by virtue of a 91-83 fourth round victory over, fellow division one side, Derby Trailblazers, in the Dragons Den on Sunday afternoon.
In the previous round, whilst the Dragons were storming to an emphatic victory (39-113) at third division WLV Albion, Derby were also up against a third-tier side. In their case a home victory (92-62) against Worcester Wolves II, set up an enticing top-flight fixture between the two first division rivals.
The visitors won the ball from the tip-off, however, as they attacked the basket, Rafi Saipe was able to pick up on a weak pass and raced the full length of the court to put the first points on the board. Bradford seized the early momentum in the game and after five minutes of play they were six points ahead, at 16-10. But, after such a great start to the game, the home side then failed to find the basket again for the next four and a half minutes, allowing the Trailblazers to close the gap, before Saipe broke the slump with a three-pointer. The opening period ended with the Dragons holding a slim three-point advantage (19-16).
The Leicester side, which is coached by one of Cadle’s former players, former England and GB international, Karl Brown, included Carl Pearson at point guard. Pearson was a key member of the Dragons’ 2013-14 play-off winning squad, and has always enjoyed a warm welcome back in the Den. Also in the Leicester squad were summer recruit, ex-BBL star Martyn Gayle (Manchester Giants, Cheshire Phoenix) and lifelong Warrior, Elliot Sentance, who has spent the last four years playing in the UK and Canada.
Historically, the two sides have always been reasonably well matched and games have always been closely competed, with both teams taking an equal share of wins. However, the Warriors have not had a good start to the new campaign having lost both of their opening league fixtures, as well as both pool fixtures in the National Trophy.
(Dragons vrs Leicester Warriors Basketball, Saturday 21st October, 2017)
Bradford Dragons Basketball Club are pleased to announce that the winner of the official Taco Bell Player of the Game award, against Leicester Warriors, goes to Eisley Swaine.
Congratulations Eisley, a well deserved winner!
Neither team managed to take any significant advantage in a low scoring opening quarter, in which the lead chopped and changed like a game of tennis. However, as the buzzer sounded, for the first of the scheduled breaks in play, it was Bradford that held the smallest of leads (15-16),
The tennis continued into the second period, however it was the visiting Dragons that managed to take the first real hold on the game, building up an eight-point margin (26-34), with only three and a half minutes of the first half remaining.
It was the visitors who set the early pace in the game, scoring from the first offensive play of the game, which they quickly extended into a seven-point advantage, before Bradford had hit the scoresheet. Jermaine Laing opened the Dragons account, with two and a half minutes of the game already played, however Loughborough then hit back through Hossanna Kitenga, who was rated number three at this Summer’s Deng top 50.
Bradford Dragons travelled to the North East on Sunday afternoon, to take on Team Northumbria, in their second and final National Trophy group fixture. Despite getting of to a good start and leading at half time, a disastrous third quarter ultimately cost Bradford the match, losing out 76-67 at the final buzzer.
Team Northumbria have established themselves as one of the main contenders in the National Basketball League, over recent seasons, taking a league and cup double last time around. The two teams also faced each other on four separate occasions during the last campaign, with the North Easterners coming out on top on all four occasions.
The first quarter was evenly matched, with the travelling Dragons going into the first of the scheduled breaks with a single basket lead, 22-24. But in the second quarter the visitors upped the ante and put themselves into a strong position, going into the half time interval with a double figures lead, 36-47.
The hosts came out after the break with all guns blazing, whilst the Dragons struggled to regain their rhythm. A 24-8 third quarter, in the home sides favour, completely turned the lead around, with Team Northumbria now leading 60-55.