Bradford Dragons succumbed to a frustrating 84-81 defeat at the hands of long-time Division One rivals Derby Trailblazers in the Dragons final group game of the L Lynch Trophy on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons returned to competitive action for the first time in almost a month after various postponements due to COVID. Hoping to stay perfect in group play and secure qualification for the knockout stages, Dragons faced off against a Trailblazers side that was also unbeaten after a 110-81 victory over Newcastle last weekend.
Perhaps somewhat bizarrely, Dragons were the designated home team for the game, played at the home of the Nottingham Wildcats (the temporary home of the Derby Trailblazers).
Looking to build on back-to-back wins to start the season, Dragons began like a team that didn’t quite have their legs under them. Struggling to hit jumpers early on, the hosts got their first six points from layups, but the Trailblazers soon capitalized on the early offensive slump.
Breaking into a 13-6 lead at the half-way mark of the opening period, Jacob Conway and Malcolm Smith combined for 12 of Derby’s 13 points.
Rather than continuing to settle for jump shots, Coach Mellor’s team looked to be more aggressive, driving into the paint looking to score or get to the free-throw line. The Dragons did just that as they got to the line six times, converting five of those.