BRADFORD DRAGONS LAST GASP DEFEAT IN PLAY OFF SEMI FINALS 73 – 75 TO READING ROCKETS
Playing in their final game of the season and in their first ever EBL division 1 final fours, Dragons let the lead slip to lose in the final seconds of the playoff semi-finals by 73 – 75 to Reading Rockets. In front of a noisy travelling band of Dragons supporters at the ABC centre in Manchester, Dragons got off to a slow start against Reading trailing by 6 midway through the first period but Dragons pulled it back to lead 18 – 17 at the first break. With Dragons struggling to hit shots from distance the game stayed tight but Reading eased in to a 39 – 32 half time lead. In the third stanza, veteran Dragons power forward Vance Silcott went to work scoring 14 points in the quarter, combining with 8 third period points from guard Jermayne Laing and some ferocious team defence to give Dragons a strong 60 – 52 lead at the break. In the final period, Dragons edged further ahead into a 11 point lead with seven minutes on the clock. Reading refused to crumble as EBL division 1 player of the year Josh Wilcher dragged them back in the game with a deuce and two dagger triples to reduce the Dragons lead to 3 with Dragons scoreless for 3 minutes. A brace of points from the charity strip saw Reading regain the lead by 1 with 1.22 on the game clock. Big Chris McGrew then replied with two from the charity stripe as Dragons now led by 1 inside the last minute. Dragons missed two from the line as Reading fouled to stop the clock before Reading grabbed a vital offensive rebound for the dangerous Emanuely to score to give Reading the lead with 14 seconds on the clock. Carter stole a loose Dragons pass and when fouled, hit one of his free throws with 6 seconds on the clock. A desperation hail mary shot by Dragons failed to drop as Dragons lost 73 – 75 on the buzzer.
For Dragons Vance Silcott hit 20, Jermayne Laing scored 12 and Dan Foley weighed in with another double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Dragons Chairman Stuart Culliford said after the game, ‘It was an incredible game to watch and be part of and the Club pays tribute to all the fans who travelled to the game and the noise they made to support the team. It was our first time in the playoff finals and hats off to Reading Rockets for battling through and showing why they are worthy league, cup and trophy winners this season. Sadly we could not quite pull off the win but we commend the efforts of the players and coaching team, particularly EBL division 1 coach of the year Chris Mellor, for our best ever season in the EBL’.