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Bradford Dragons left to regret early deficit
Bradford Dragons head coach Chris Mellor was left frustrated as a slow start led to a 79-71 defeat to defending champions Essex Leopards in vcars.co.uk Division One.
Both teams were looking to secure their place in the play-offs but it was Essex who took the upper hand as the Dragons were left in seventh place with a record of seven wins and seven losses.
The Leopards dominated the first quarter and scored 23 points while restricting Bradford to 13.
But the second quarter saw roles reversed as the Dragons’ defence clamped down and forced their opponents to take difficult shots, while new Bradford guard Michael Gayle started firing.
This enabled them to reduced the deficit to just a single point at the half-time break, before Essex extended the advantage to four during a tight third quarter.
The match was then settled in the final period as the Leopards’ accurate long-distance shooting proved decisive, with Carl Josey finding his range.
Ricky Fetske led the Bradford scoring with 20 points, while Taner Adu posted a game-high 21 for Essex.
Mellor said: “We got off to a poor start but played well in the second quarter. Neither team really made a big run in the second half but Josey hit four big outside shots and Adu hurt us as well.”
The Dragons return to action with a long trip to face Worthing Thunder on Sunday, before taking on Tees Valley Mohawks at home the following Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Dragons second team beat their Stockport Falcons counterparts 75-63, the under-18s lost 69-53 to Tees Valley, the under-16s were beaten 96-26 by Newcastle Eagles and the under-14s won 84-69 against Gateshead Tornadoes.
The Dragons’ women bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a crushing 90-31 win over Doncaster Danum Eagles.