The Dragons have shown vast improvement over recent weeks and went into the game on the back of a double winning weekend the previous week. Meanwhile, the Spinners had also had a mixed start to their first season in the top flight of English basketball, with a record of four wins and four defeats.
The game started at blistering pace, with both sides sinking three-point-shot after three point shot, almost at will. But, at the end of a high scoring first quarter, the Spinners had the slight edge, leading by a single basket, 34-36.
The Spinners were not about to let Bradford have it all their own way and upped the ante for the remainder of the half, whilst the Dragons appeared to rest on their laurels. As the buzzer sounded for the half-time interval, the scores were once again tied at 61 a piece.
The two sides traded baskets for the opening minutes of the third quarter, however as the quarter progressed the Lancashire outfit opened up a nine-point gap (68-77). Bradford then closed the deficit back to two points, only for the Spinners to pull away again, building back to eight points with only a few seconds remaining of the penultimate period. The quarter finished with Bongoma again sinking a three-pointer to pull the scores back to 80-85.
Lancashire took early control of the final period and with Bradford starting to miss their shots the lead was quickly stretched. With only three minutes of the game remaining the lead was up to eleven, and it seemed as though the Dragons were dead and buried. But a couple more three-pointers from Jason Swaine, plus another from Moore, saw the gap closed to a mere three points (96-99) with forty-five seconds left on the clock.
On their next attack, the Spinners turned the ball over and the Dragons had the opportunity to tie the game. However, this time Swaine saw his crucial three-point shot bounce back off the rim and with the visitors picking up the rebound, Bradford were forced to foul. Mark Rangeley hit one of his two free-throws to put the game out of the Dragons reach and with Bongoma missing the final shot of the game, it ended with the scores at 96-100.
Moore once again top scored for the Dragons, taking 24 points and 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Jason Swaine sank 23 points, which included six three-pointers, whilst Bongoma added a further 17 points to Bradford’s total.
For the visitors, Rangeley hit 24 points, sixteen of which were in the first quarter. Connor Murtagh contributed 19 points, whilst Stephen Gayle and veteran ‘Big Mike’ Bernard added 15 each.
Following the defeat, Bradford’s head coach, Chris Mellor said, “We shot the ball and rebounded pretty good. But overall, from start to finish, our defence was just not good enough, both individually and as a team. That’s the end of the floor we have to get better at now.”
The Dragons face the long away journey to Worthing Thunder next weekend, before returning to the Dragons Den for their pre-Christmas cracker, against Manchester Magic on December 19th.
Meanwhile the Dragons’ under 14’s lost by a single point at Doncaster Danum Eagles, 44-43.
All photographs © ALEX DANIEL PHOTOGRAPHY