The Dragons were missing Jermayne Laing, due to a long standing personal commitment, whilst head coach, Chris Mellor is also still awaiting the arrival of his two American imports, Chris McGrew and Jeremee ‘JP’ Davies. However, Reading were also missing the services of their influential captain, Dan Carter due to injury and had so far experienced a mixed start to their 2014/15 schedule.
Reading ‘Rocketed’ into an early six point, unanswered lead at the start of the first period and although Mellor’s men had plenty of opportunities to level things up, they just couldn’t get the baskets to drop. With both teams making mistakes aplenty, the first quarter remained fairly low scoring, with Bradford trailing at the interval by four, with the score at 9-13.
The break gave the home crowd something to celebrate, as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress presided over a special medal presentation to the Yorkshire under 15 boys’ squad, in recognition of their recent victory in Basketball England’s Regional Development Tournament. The under 15’s squad included four Bradford Dragons junior players, as well as being coached by Mellor’s assistant, Samuel Messam.
As play resumed, Reading again stretched their lead, this time to ten points, before Bradford finally seemed to find their game. Putting in a huge effort, the home side took the lead for the first time in the game, before closing out the penultimate period with the scores tied at 46 apiece.
However, any optimism that had been created by the Dragons resurgence was quickly extinguished as Reading totally dominated the final phase of the game. Not even a lengthy time-out, caused by a shot clock malfunction, would allow the Dragons to regroup and the game ended with a disappointing 58-72 defeat.
After the game, Mellor said, “It wasn’t a good performance from us. We turned the ball over way too much, made some bad decisions in transition offence and got out-rebounded. We were level at the start of the fourth, and looking to push on for the win, but they executed better and were the better team on the night.”
Club Captain, Vance Silcott led the scoring for the Dragons with 16 points, whilst also taking 11 rebounds to record another double-double. Veteran shooting guard, Jason Swaine finished the game on 15 points, which included four of his trademark three pointers, whilst Spanish centre, Miguel Lorenzo added 12 points to his tally for the season.
Ex-England International, Swaine commented, “The game was a good indication of where we are as a team. We are progressing well and playing for each other, but all credit to Reading. They are a well-coached and highly talented team who took advantage during crucial parts of the game. We will now move on and focus on next weekend’s games.”
For the Rockets, both Alexander Zurn and Marti Sergio Guardia ended the game on 16 points apiece, whilst Deion Turman recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Dragons Den (Bradford College Sports Hall, Trinity Road, BD6 0JE) plays host to Team Northumbria next Saturday (8th November), with tip-off at 6:15pm. Team Northumbria have already beaten Bradford during the round-robin phase of this seasons National Trophy competition and therefore the Dragons will be looking to set the records straight this time around.
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All photographs © ALEX DANIEL PHOTOGRAPHY