The two sides had already met twice earlier this season, in both the National Trophy and the National Cup, with Manchester finishing both games as convincing winners. However, Bradford’s form has improved recently and they were hopeful of giving a better showing against the Lancastrians this time around.
Bradford opened the scoring and for the first couple of minutes it looked as though the two teams were evenly matched. But a couple of minutes was as long as the equality lasted, as Manchester started to show why they are currently sat at the top of the league table, whilst unfortunately the Dragons equally displayed the defensive frailties that have caused them to struggle so far this season.
The visitors continued to control proceedings throughout the second period of play, whilst Bradford contributed to their own downfall with a succession of missed shots and turnovers. Only an Adria Vinas three-pointer, right on the half-time buzzer, kept the Dragons within fifteen points, with the scores at 34-49.
Like the first half, Bradford were the first to register a score after the break, but again it was the visitors that were in total control, opening the lead up to twenty-two points within three minutes of the third quarter. As Manchester started to ease off the gas a little, their hosts pulled the deficit back to seventeen points, 54-71, at the end of the period.
The final quarter started with Vinas turning the ball over and, within no time at all, Manchester’s lead was back up to twenty-two (54-76). The result was never in any doubt and, despite a Nick Moore jump shot producing the final points of the game, Magic were yet again on the right side of a convincing 74-97 victory.
For the Dragons, American power forward, Nick Moore, notched up yet another double-double with twenty-three points and eleven rebounds. Jason Swain contributed fifteen points to Bradford’s total, whilst Vinas added fourteen points and Eisley Swain twelve points.
Dragons coach, Chris Mellor commented, after the game, “We were second best on the night. Our rebounding and overall defence was poor and never put us in any position to make a significant inroad into the lead they had.”
Basketball now takes a short, break over the Christmas and New Year period, with the Dragons returning to action in a re-arranged home fixture against Reading Rockets on Saturday 9th January (6:15pm), followed by a National Trophy quarter final at Westminster Warriors, the following day.
Dragons’ under 18s went down to a heavy defeat (35-78) to Durham Wildcats, in the curtain raiser at the Dragons Den on Saturday, whilst the under 16’s were forced to forfeit their game at City of Birmingham.
All photographs © ALEX DANIEL PHOTOGRAPHY