Bradford Dragons suffered their sixth successive defeat, on Sunday afternoon, despite putting in an impressive performance against table-toppers Derby Trailblazers.
A game in which the lead changed hands no fewer than ten times, finished with the league leaders taking a ten point victory, with 82 points to Bradford’s 72.
The visitors were fastest out of the blocks, racking up a quick four point lead, however three quick baskets from American point guard, J.P. Davies, brought the balance of the game into Bradford’s favour. The lead chopped and changed throughout the rest of a tense first quarter, but it was the home side that held a four point advantage, going into the first break at 22-18.
At the start of the second period, Derby again took the early initiative and in no time at all had tied the scores up at 22 apiece. But the Dragons responded by going on a scoring spree of their own and building themselves a thirteen point lead. But the Trailblazers were not going to let Bradford have things all their own way and by the half time interval the Dragons were hanging on to a slim three point margin, with the scores at 43-40.
Early in the third quarter, a brave defensive block by Tamas Szlavik ended with the Hungarian smashing into the wall at the end of the court, terminating his involvement for the rest of the game.
Derby seized control of the game and at the end of the penultimate period of play it was the visitors holding a three point lead, with the scoreboard showing 53-56.
The decisive quarter started with Derby extending their advantage to nine points. However, once again the Dragons stepped things up a gear, going on an unanswered fifteen point spree to take control back into their own hands. But, Derby showed why they are top of the table and responded with a thirteen point run of their own.
By the time Bradford called their final timeout, with 39 seconds on the clock, the Dragons trailed by 5 points and had resorted to giving away fouls in an attempt to try and salvage something from the game. The game ended with the scores at 72-82, and whilst Derby maintained their lofty position at the top of the table, the Dragons remain rock bottom with only one win from seven league games so far this season.
Top scorer for the Dragons was Rihards Sulcs with 27 points, which included an impressive eight from eight at the free throw line, whilst Davies also bagged 17 points towards the Dragons total. For Derby, Christopher Shalvoy netted 16 points whilst Raheem May Thompson and Alex Dorr scored 13 each.
After the game, Bradford’s head coach, Chris Mellor said “Apart from some unforced turnovers, I was happy with the way we played in the first half. But, once again, despite getting some momentum at crucial moments in the second half of the game, we finished poorly and were unable to close out for the win.”
The Dragons now face an away fixture against Newham (NASSA) Neptunes next Saturday, before returning to the Dragons Den to face Worthing Thunder on December 13th.
Elsewhere for the Dragons, the under 14’s convincingly beat Leeds Tigers, 11-136, on Saturday, but were stung by a 64-94 defeat by Sheffield Saints on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s result saw Sheffield move to the top of the under 14’s Northern table, with Bradford currently secure in second position.
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