Leopards leave it late to beat Bradford Dragons

Bradford Dragons will enjoy their Christmas sitting in second place in English Basketball Division One despite having their seven-game winning streak ended by in-form Essex Leopards.

The hosts won 78-73 in overtime in a thrilling top-of-the-table encounter.

Bradford led for almost the entire game, marshalled magnificently by their Americans, centre Chris McGrew and the unstoppable shooting guard Dan Foley.

Foley scored 23 points, with 12 rebounds and no turnovers, playing the whole 45 minutes. The Dragons remained strong both defensively and offensively through-out regulation time, however the Leopards went on a vital 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter.

The Dragons trailed by six with just minutes remaining. The visitors then looked to dangerman Foley for some inspiration and the New York native did not disappoint. He produced back-to-back three-pointers to tie game with 54 seconds remaining.

The Dragons then held out to take the game into overtime.

Carl Pearson opened the overtime scoring with two free throws, however led by the heroics of Kris Clarke, the home side went on another 8-0 run to put the game out of Dragons’ reach.

Bradford’s next action is a home National League double against Manchester Magic and Essex Leopards on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 and 5.

Elsewhere, the under-15s beat Barnsley Leaders 89-42 and the under-14s won 125-37 against Liverpool.

The under-16s stay second in the EBL North-East Conference division, while the under-13s have a perfect record of nine wins at the top of EBL Under-13 North.

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