Bradford Dragons succumbed to a disappointing 80-62 road defeat against the Nottingham Hoods in NBL Division One action.
A frustrating afternoon’s work for the Dragons, who never really got going. A really slow offensive display in the first half was cancelled out by a promising revival in the third quarter, but the fourth quarter reverted to type, and the Dragons couldn’t muster up enough to secure an unlikely victory.
0Captain Ricky Fetske opened the scoring with a three on the first offensive possession of the game. Dragons looked to have settled well on both sides of the ball as they held the Hoods to just two points in the opening four-and-a-half minutes of action.
Then the Hoods fired off 11 straight points in just over a minute of action, and just like that, the Dragons’ only lead of the game was gone.
Whilst the Dragons were trading baskets and staying within touching distance of the Hoods, Coach Mellor’s team was finding it difficult to make perimeter shots.
At the end of the first quarter, the hosts led 19-16.
After a tight opening period, Dragons produced a calamitous second quarter that culminated in a season-low six points as the Hoods took control of the game.
Out of sorts, the Dragons were struggling to keep hold of the ball as they committed nine turnovers alone in the second period.
It was almost four-and-a-half minutes into the quarter before the Dragons scored a field goal as Rihards Šulcs notched a much-needed bucket.
By then, the damage had already been done, as the Hoods worked into a 27-17 lead courtesy of a Victor Olarerin layup.
The onslaught showed no signs of slowing up as Dragons’ shooting slump worsened. Another scoreless four-minute stretch coincided with the Hoods extending their lead to 18 with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
The Dragons needed to get into halftime still in the game and regroup. Scoring the final three points of the half through Šulcs and Fetske, the Dragons did cut the deficit to 15 points going into the break (37-22).
After the lowest-scoring period of the season, the Dragons needed to bounce-back in the third quarter, and they did just that.
Whatever Coach Mellor said to the team fired them up as they put together a 12-3 run to start the penultimate quarter.
The Dragons had tenacity and bounce that wasn’t visible in the first half, and the Hoods looked stunned.
After shooting just 1-10 from three in the first half, the Dragons got two big threes from Fetske and Andreas Lycoudis to half the halftime deficit to 40-34.
The visitors looked more like the team that had opened up the season 2-0 they began to make shots at a considerable clip.
Fetske was beginning to get comfortable as he knocked down three straight jumpers. However, despite the Dragons’ uptick in offensive production, they were only ever able to get within four points of the Hoods by the end of the third quarter.
Outscoring the hosts 29-20 in the quarter, Dragons were down 57-51, heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
The signs were increasingly positive for the Dragons after four straights points from Lycoudis cut the Hoods lead to 57-55.
But just as the Dragons looked like they might finally regain the lead, they were never quite able to get over the hump. Turnovers killed Dragons all afternoon long; 29 in total, but none more so than in the final period of play.
Despite the visitor’s struggles, Nottingham weren’t able to pull away. That was until the final four minutes of the game when the Dragons went cold at the worst possible moment.
An almost three-minute scoreless run sealed the Dragons’ fate as their monumental comeback fell in vain. Down 65-60 after a Šulcs free-throw, the Dragons fought to regain the lead to no avail as the Hoods took advantage of the visitor’s woes.
Six straight Hoods point extended the lead to 11, and that was it for Dragons. Uche Umekwe did cut the deficit to 71-62 with one-and-a-half minutes left on the game clock, but that turned out to be the visitor’s last points of the afternoon as Nottingham closed out the game with nine straight points.
A disappointing defeat for Dragons as the shooting struggles continue to frustrate. The final score, Nottingham Hoods 80-62 Bradford Dragons. The Dragons fall to 2-1 in NBL Division One after being second best in the East Midlands.
Ricky Fetske top-scored for Dragons with 17 points (7-14 shooting) and 12 rebounds.
Delaney Powell led the game in scoring with 23 points.
Box Score: https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/BBE/1774152/bs.html#ASFSK
Coach Mellor said:
“It was a disappointing performance from us, we turned the ball over too much which led to scores and we didn’t shoot the ball well. Nottingham played well especially on the defensive end.”
Next up for the Dragons is an immediate chance to bounce back, as the lads make the trip back to the East Midlands to face the Leicester Warriors on Saturday, December 19, with tip-off at 3.00pm.