Bradford Dragons made it back to back wins in the NBL Division One for the first time this season, blowing out the Nottingham Hoods 99-82 in a dominant wire to wire victory.
The Dragons notched a third successive win in all competitions, claiming a first away victory of the campaign in the process.
The visitors, buoyed by last weekend’s doubleheader success at the Dragons Den, came out of the blocks firing in Nottingham.
Leading from the front, Ricky Fetske knocked down his first four shots as the Dragons opened up a 13-6 lead in the opening minutes of the game.
The Dragons guards began to take control of the game. Albert Margai, Jermyane Laing and Rafi Saipe all scored as the visitors asserted a 21-8 lead on the road.
The bench play of Dragons was a staple of the performance throughout but was no more apparent than when the bench scored 10 of the teams 12 points, in the remaining two minutes of the first quarter.
Leading 33-17 at the end of the first, after the Dragons poured in a season-high for points in a quarter.
The second quarter was a much lower scoring affair with the visitors maintaining a healthy lead throughout.
As the hosts’ offense continued to splutter, Dragons continued to thrive on that side of the ball. Knocking down three three-point field goals in the opening two minutes of the quarter.
Andreas Lycoudis knocked down his second and third threes of the evening with the Dragons resident long-range marksman Dave Walsh firing in the other. The visitors lead had ballooned to 28.
The offensive blitz coincided with a Dragons spell of lockdown defence that ensured the hosts went scoreless for the first four minutes of the second quarter.
With a substantial lead, Bradford had a brief lapse in concentration which allowed Nottingham to gain a foothold back into the game. The hosts went on a 15-2 run over the next three minutes, almost halving the deficit, as the lead stood at 15.
Needing someone to steady the ship, up stepped Kenny Ogunneye. Scoring the Dragons final eight points of the quarter off the bench.
Kenny’s 8-point burst ensured Dragons went into halftime 53-34 to the good.
The third quarter was all about Rihards Šulcs as the Latvian lit up the Nottingham defence for 17 points in the penultimate quarter.
Trading buckets with the hosts, Šulcs scored his team’s first 8 points of the quarter going 4-4 from the field.
The Dragons stalwart now in his eleventh season with the club, showed no signs of letting up as he took over the game. On the other side of a Fetske bucket that increased the visitors lead to 22, Šulcs scored nine of the team’s next 12 points as he shot a flawless 8-8 in the third quarter.
Keeping their foot on the gas, Lycoudis and Walsh combined for the final seven points of the third as the Dragons lead was at 30 by the time the buzzer sounded for the end of the period.
Clayfell Harris scored on the first possession of the fourth, increasing the visitors lead to a game-high 32 points. Although Nottingham cut the lead down to 17, Dragons never looked in danger of a monumental collapse in the final quarter. The final score 99-82 in favour of the Bradford Dragons.
The Bradford Dragons improve to 3-5 on the season, sitting just two points outside of the playoffs in ninth position.
Coach Mellor was pleased with his sides performance, “ we jumped out to a fast start and overall it was a good performance at both ends. We defended well and shared the ball well offensively.”
Rihards Šulcs top-scored for the Dragons with an impressive 25 points and 9 rebounds performance. Four players added 12 points, with a notable 12 points and 7 rebounds effort from Kenny Ogunneye off the bench.
Next up for the Dragons is a tasty looking home league and cup doubleheader.
First, the Dragons host 2 nd placed Hemel Storm on Saturday, November 23 at 6.15pm. Then, the unbeaten league leaders Team Solent Kestrels step into the Dragons Den for the Fourth Round of the National Cup on Sunday, November 24 at 4.15pm.
Meanwhile, in the weekend’s Junior Dragons action, the Dragons U16s defeated the Sheffield Sharks 80-52, on Saturday. On Sunday, the under 14s travelled to Chesterfield flight, where they were on the wrong end of an 86-71 scoreline, whilst the under 18s fixture at home to JLC Sunthorpe Wolves was postponed due to a mix up with the referees.
In the Leeds Men’s League, Dragons 3 went down 70-56 away to Spen Valley Vipers.
Photos (c) Alex Daniel Photography