Derby started the game strongly and soon opened up a 5 point lead. However, the Dragons stuck to their game plan and, at the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 21 points apiece.
Again, Dragons started the third quarter strongly and had soon extended their advantage to 14 points.
However, by now the Bradford players were clearly starting to tire and the Trailblazers started to take a hold on the game.
By the twenty-eighth minute Derby had reduced their deficit to only one point. However, the home side refused to give in and, following a series of fouls by the visitors, they managed to regain some control and ended the quarter at 65-57.
This was never going to be an easy game and it would require a huge effort from the Bradford team to see the game through to victory. Despite opening their lead back to eleven, the strain was really starting to show and the Dragons gave away a succession of turnovers, allowing Derby back into the reckoning. As Derby called a time-out, with only one minute and forty-seven seconds left on the clock, the home advantage was again down to a single point.
Derby took advantage of the time-out and came back onto the court, immediately gaining the advantage through a Lee GoldsBorough two-pointer. However, the Dragons never-say-die attitude kicked back in and they were rewarded for a magnificent team performance, eventually coming out victorious with a five point win. The game ended at 88-83.
Top scorer for the Dragons was John Bantock, who played the full 40 minutes, with 27 points, followed closely by Rihards Sulcs on 25. Bradford’s longest serving player, Vance Silcott finished the game with a double-double, notching up 16 points and 13 rebounds. Alex Dorr topped the scoring for the Trailblazers, with a very respectable 22 points.
Bradford’s head coach, Chris Mellor, said after the game, “I thought we played really well. Our intensity was very good right from the tip. We moved the ball well and competed on the boards, even though we were a little undersized at times. We kept our composure at the end, when it looked like they (Derby) were getting the upper hand and everyone stuck to their job.”
Tees Valley Mohawks are next up at the Dragons Den, as the Dragons entertain them in another National Trophy game, next Saturday, 4th October, with a 6:15pm tip-off. This will be followed by Bradford’s National Cup second round tie against Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows, at 4:15pm on Sunday, 5th October.