Bradford started the game strongly, building up a seven-point lead (5-12) by the mid-point of the opening quarter. However, the host team restricted them to a mere two points in the rest of the period and the first quarter ended with Bradford on the wrong side of a 20-14 score line.
Worthing increased their lead to twelve points (32-20) in the second period of play, before the Dragons shifted up a gear and pulled the game back to within three (39-36) at the half time buzzer.
Following the break, it was the visitors that again piled on the pressure, building up to a strong fifteen-point lead (69-54) with only thirty seconds of the period remaining. A two-point jump shot from Adria Rodriguez Vinas, followed up by a couple of free throws from Nick Moore, pulled the gap back to eleven (69-58) going into the final break.
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The two teams traded baskets for much of the final quarter and the Dragons were still facing a ten-point deficit with only four minutes remaining on the clock. However, slowly the visitors started to eat away at the deficit, and with 45 seconds remaining the gap was down to a mere two points (82-80). In those final seconds, Henri Bongoma missed two three-point attempts and Jermayne Laing missed his two-point effort, whilst Worthing took advantage of a Laing foul to make the final score 84-80.
Coach Mellor reflected on the defeat, saying, “We played okay in the first half, but the third quarter got away from us and we were playing catch up for the last fifteen minutes. The points they scored off our turnovers were a big factor, but we had chances to win the game in the last minutes, but didn’t take them."
The Dragons now face a tough home fixture against Manchester Magic next Saturday, 19th December (tip-off 6:15pm). Manchester have already beaten Bradford twice this season, in the National Trophy and the National Cup, with both games being played on the other side of the Pennines. However, contests between these two sides never fail to disappoint and the game is set to be a real pre-Christmas cracker.
Meanwhile the Dragons under 18’s went down to a heavy, 89-43, defeat at York Eagles on Saturday, whilst the under 16’s also took a heavy loss (39-84) at home to Sheffield Junior Sharks. The under 14’s provided the only bright spark, on an otherwise miserable weekend for the Dragons, beating local rivals Leeds Force II, at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College, by a convincing 95-30 score line.