The win moves the Dragons to 5-7 on the season and back level on points with the eighth-seeded Leicester Warriors, who despite an inferior point differential, hold the head-to-head over the Dragons.
Despite the nature of the victory, the game wasn’t all plain sailing, like the scoreline might suggest.
The 6-4 Trailblazers opened up the game with a 10-0 run. Sergio Gomez and Charlie Brown both knocked down threes as the visitors went scoreless on their first five possessions.
The Dragons stopped the bleeding and scored six straight as Rihards Šulcs, Ricky Fetske and Albert Margai all got on the scoreboard.
Both teams then seemingly went run for run for the rest of the quarter. The hosts had built up a seven-point lead with just under three minutes to play (19-12).
The Dragons three-point marksman Dave Walsh then knocked down two threes either side of a Margai layup. Handing Coach Mellor’s team their first lead of the game at 20-19.
Jake Wesselingh sunk a three to end the quarter as the Trailblazers held a narrow lead after the opening ten minutes of action.
The visitors had awoken after a slow start and the second quarter was a real indication of the firepower that the Dragons possess.
Rattling off six straight points to begin the quarter, courtesy of two Šulcs buckets and a layup from Clayfell Harris.
Then came the onslaught from behind the three-point line. Five of the Dragons next ten buckets game from deep as Dave Walsh fired in four threes and Andreas Lycoudis also knocked down a treble.
Four successive threes from the Dragons propelled the team into a 45-34 lead with 2:54 to play in the half.
Oliver Stanley cut the lead to nine but Lycoudis was on hand to end the opening half with four successive points. The visitors went into halftime up 51-38 after an emphatic second quarter response.
After a 31-point second period, you would have been forgiven for thinking the Dragons would cool down in the second half.
The Dragons response? A 33-point third quarter that blew the game wide open. The visitors were scoring in abundance as seven players notched buckets in the penultimate quarter.
Jermayne Laing, Fetske and Margai combined for a 12-7 run that ballooned the lead to 18, in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half.
The Trailblazers simply could not handle the offensive assault from a red-hot Bradford Dragons.
Dragons up 70-55 with 4:28 left on the clock, went on an 8-0 run in the following two minutes. Increasing the lead to a game-high 23-points. The visitors were in total control of proceedings in Derbyshire against the sixth-seeded Trailblazers.
After three-quarters of play, the Dragons held a 21-point lead (84-63).
A combined 64 points in the second and third quarters meant the Dragons had to maintain their concentration for the final ten minutes of play to take away a much deserved two points.
Doing just that, the hosts only got within 15 points as the visitors ensured the trip back to West Yorkshire was a happy one.
The final score, Derby Trailblazers 82-100 Bradford Dragons.
Coach Chris Mellor was very pleased with his team’s performance, “It’s a good win against a good team. We were at the required level of intensity and effort throughout the whole game and we executed well offensively.
Dave Walsh led all scorers for a second week running with 23 points, knocking down 7 threes on the evening (7-16). Ricky Fetske claimed his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Andreas Lycoudis scored 18 points, shooting 4-8 from three, stats which earned him the National Basketball League Division One’s Britwatch Player of the Week Award.
Next up for the Dragons is the first NBL Division One game of 2020 at the Dragons Den against the Leicester Warriors on Saturday, January 11 at 6.15pm
In Junior Dragons news, it was a mixed bag of results this weekend. The U14s dropped to a 65-56 defeat against Leeds. Meanwhile, the U16s defeated the Sheffield Swarm 81-65 and the U18s fell to an 89-79 defeat against the York Eagles.
Photos © Alex Daniel Photography