Early divisional leaders, Derby, had experienced mixed results since beating Bradford by exactly the same score, back in November, and needed the victory in order to keep themselves in touch with the other challengers.
In a tight, low scoring first quarter it was the home team that held a slight advantage, at 15-10 and, despite Bradford narrowing the gap in the second period, Derby maintained their grip on the lead at half time, 40-37.
However, in the third quarter it was the Dragons who looked hungriest for the victory, forcing a ten point turnaround to be leading 57-50 going into the final period.
But any thoughts of a Dragons victory were short lived, hitting foul trouble in the fourth quarter and it was the Trailblazers that finished the strongest, taking the final quarter 32-15 and an overall 82-72 victory.
Miguel Lorenzo hit 18 points for the Dragons, followed closely by John Bantock with 17 points and Jeremee (J.P.) Davis on 14 points.
Head coach, Chris Mellor, reflected on the defeat saying, “We played well for thirty-five minutes, but had a nightmare last five minutes, which cost us the game.”
Bradford returned to home territory on Sunday afternoon for the clash against Kent Crusaders, who had lost their previous two games against Leicester Warriors and Manchester Magic. Kent have been the surprise package in the division one table this season, with a squad consisting mainly of teenagers.
However, the hosting Dragons were quickest out of the blocks, taking an early lead which they held for the duration of the game. Bradford held a six point advantage at the end of the first quarter (20-14), which they extended to twelve points (45-33) by the time the two teams returned to the locker room for their halftime refreshments.
The home side continued where they left off after the break, extending their lead to an impressive 21 points (66-45) at the end of the penultimate period.
This gave Mellor the opportunity to give more court time to some of the peripheral bench players and despite the Crusaders putting up a mini revival in the final quarter the final result (83-70) was never in any doubt.
Top scorer for the Dragons was Rihards Sulcs, who netted an impressive 23 points, supported by Jermayne Laing with 17 points. Davis also added a further 13 points to his weekend total.
Mellor said of the victory, “We played well tonight, at both ends of the floor and it was good to get everyone some court time. Kent were playing without a couple of key players, which made life easier, but it was a good team performance.”
Basketball returns to the Dragons Den next Saturday evening (6:15pm) as the Dragons welcome the division’s bottom club Newham Neptunes, for the final home fixture of the current season. As a special, end of season offer the Dragons are again offering free entry to all under 16’s that are accompanied by a full fee paying adult for this game.
It was also a busy weekend for the Dragons junior teams. On Saturday, the under 18’s lost 70-57 at Leeds Tigers, whilst the under 16’s won at home against Toxteth, 88-68, before losing 75-97 against Cheshire Wire on Sunday. The under 14’s also had mixed results, losing 73-61 at Sheffield Saints on Saturday and beating St. Aidan’s 91-38 at home on Sunday.