The newly implemented trophy pits 16 teams, 14 from NBL Division One, and two invited teams from NBL Division Two (Myerscough and Charnwood) against each other. Competing in four regional groups of four, each team play’s each other once with the top two in each group heading to the quarterfinals. The Dragons are joined in Group D by Division Two champions Team Newcastle, Derby Trailblazers, and hosts Myerscough.
In their first game of competitive action since March 8th, 2020, the Dragons controlled proceedings from start to finish in the Myerscough bubble. Facing off against newly promoted Team Newcastle, Dragons showed no signs of rust in a game they never allowed Newcastle to get comfortable in.
To kick off the 2020-21 season, the Dragons starting five was Dave Walsh, Andreas Lycoudis, Jermayne Laing, Albert Margai, and recent addition Tyme Regent-Bascombe. Regent-Bascombe didn’t take long to score his first points in Dragons colours as he knocked down a two-point jumper on the first offensive possession of the game.
Despite never being able to break into more than a six-point lead in the opening period, Dragons looked thoroughly in control throughout. Looking to push the ball with pace, Coach Mellor’s team was dictating play from the tip with Laing and Regent-Bascombe heavily involved on the offensive end.
Starting-small, the Dragons were able to take advantage of some of their mismatches and drive into the paint. With the Dragons in attack mode, they were able to move the ball around the perimeter and find open shots with ease. Regent-Bascombe looked comfortable on his Dragons debut scoring eight points in the opening period.
Heading into the second quarter up 20-16, the Dragons turned on the style in the second period with a dominant 28-point quarter to stun Team Newcastle.
Sharing the scoring all night long, two of the Dragons new additions, Uche Umekwe and Edvarts Karlis Gutmanis got in on the action, scoring their first buckets in Dragons uniform.
Consistently turning defence into offense, the Dragons transition offense was outstanding as they routinely beat Newcastle down the floor for easy buckets. Opening up shooting pockets with their drives, Dragons took advantage, knocking down four of their 10 threes in the second period.
Threes from Matt Armstrong, Dave Walsh x2, and a Gutmanis three with 43 seconds left in the half put the Dragons thoroughly in the ascendancy. Up by as many as 22, Team Newcastle struggled to slow down Bradford.
Going into the break, the Dragons led Team Newcastle 48-26. Turning 12 turnovers into 18 first-half points, Coach Mellor would have been delighted with his team’s effort on the defensive end.
The third quarter reverted to a low scoring affair as the Dragons maintained control of the game. Leading by as many as 24 points, Dragons went bucket for bucket with Team Newcastle as last season’s NBL Division Two Champions looked to make a run.
Heading into the final period of the game, the Dragons led 68-44.
Looking to get everyone involved, Coach Mellor rotated through a variety of Dragon line-ups. Clayfell Harris and Umekwe provided highly productive minutes off the bench as they looked to crash the offensive glass.
Umekwe scored six of his 10 points in the fourth as he got to the rim with ease. Matt Armstrong also added two threes as the Dragons secured a blow-out 84-59 victory in Game One of the L Lynch trophy.
The Dragons outstanding team defence forced Team Newcastle into 22 turnovers as they never allowed their opponents to get settled this evening.
Five Dragons scored in double-figures as new addition Tyme Regent Bascombe led the team with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in 23 minutes of action. Jermayne Laing scored 12 points on 5-6 shooting. Uche Umweke provided a great boost off the bench, scoring 10 points and 8 rebounds in just 15 minutes of action.
Team Newcastle’s Kabengele led all scorers with 28 points.
Next up for the Dragons is another L Lynch trophy fixture, next Saturday, this time against Division 2 side Myerscough. The fixture again takes place at the Myerscough bubble, albeit with the Dragons bizarrely billed as the home team. The group stages will then be completed the following weekend with the Dragons facing up against Division 1 rivals, Derby Trailblazers.
Photo Source @My-bball