Bradford Dragons secured their derby victory against Leeds Carnegie with less than a second left in the game on Saturday night.
As expected it was a defensive battle as both teams worked hard to limit the others offensive threats. The opening quarter was a close affair with Leeds starting the brighter but the Dragons worked hard and managed to level the game at 15 points each by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter continued in the same vein with Leeds managing to open up a 3 point lead to take into the half time break.
Both teams came out in the third quarter with a renewed focus on the defensive end. Once again limiting each other to just 15 points in the period. This meant that Leeds had maintained their slender 3 point lead to take into the final quarter. The final period would continue to be a battle and would go down to last few seconds of the game. With just over ten seconds to go Leeds’ Jermayne Laing drove to the basket hard but was called for an offensive foul. This gave Dragons the ball with 10.1 seconds to go. After a Bradford timeout both teams came back onto the floor and Rihards Sulcs inbounded the ball to Michael Gayle. Gayle then tried to shake his defender, Jack Stannard. He managed to find a path to the basket and took the shot with 2 seconds left on the clock. His shot hit the ring and came out but Rihards Sulcs had worked hard to be in position for the rebound. He caught the ball in mid air and put it straight back up to the basket. It hit the backboard and went in to secure Bradford Dragons a memorable win whilst sending the crowd into a frenzy. Dragons scoring was led by Vance Silcott with 14 points whilst Carnegie were led by Sean Clifford with 13 points.
Bradford Dragons Head Coach Chris Mellor was thrilled with the win saying “We played tough and it became the dogfight defensively we wanted. Our goal was to limit Marsden, Anebo and Ajumobi and the impact they have in scoring and rebounding and we achieved this. Their defense also made it very tough for us to get good looks and it’s not often you win scoring 58 points. Once again it was a tough battle right to the end and fortunately we made the big plays in the last two minutes”
Sunday saw Dragons make the trip North East to face off against the Tees Valley Mohawks. The Mohawks had lost the National Trophy final the previous night and were determined to come away with the win against the Dragons. The game was expected to be the polar opposite of the previous night with an all out offensive battle on the cards. The Mohawks came out the quickest racking up 23 points in the first quarter and opening up a 6 point lead. Dragons fought hard in the second and reduced The Mohawks’ lead down to 5 points by the half time break. Mohawks dominated the third quarter notching up 31 points and extending their lead to 18 points. Bradford regrouped for the final quarter and although they scored an impressive 33 points it was enough to take the win as Tees Valley ran out 110-95 winners. Bradford’s scoring was led by Ricky Fetske with 20 points whilst the Mohawks were led by Ebanks with 29 points.
Coach Mellor wasn’t happy with his sides performance saying “Ebanks, Hanson and Kohn all scored big and we turned it over way too much. We didn’t contest the three point line and overall our effort level was no where near good enough but they played well and were deserving winners”
Elsewhere for Bradford, Dragons Women made history by winning their first ever piece of silverware by winning the National Trophy. They beat the Northamptonshire Titans 51-42 and they were welcomed on court with the trophy during the Dragons men’s game to rapturous applause from the crowd. Dragons II couldn’t bring the win home going down 85-55 to the Newcastle Under Lyme College Knights. The Under 18 Men also returned home empty handed after losing 95-81 to the Gateshead Tornadoes. The Under 16 Boys were also unsuccessful as they faced the Killarmarsh Derbyshire Arrows and lost 51 – 95. However the Under 14 Boys won again, this time with an impressive 103-43 win over local rivals Leeds Carnegie.