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Thunder silenced by Bradford Dragons crowd
Bradford Dragons held off a final-quarter onslaught from Worthing Thunder to edge an 83-82 victory in EBL Division One.
The Dragons were nearly forced into overtime in front of their biggest home crowd of the season but Rory Spencer missed a last-second free throw for the third-bottom visitors.
The result leaves Bradford third in the table as they jostle for position ahead of the play-offs in April.
The game against Worthing began quietly, with both sides shooting poorly, before a seven-point run by the hosts saw them end the first quarter level at 18-18 as forward Dan Foley picked up two three-pointers and two steals.
The second period proved to be most significant for Bradford as excellent scoring, defence and effort throughout the squad helped build a 44-33 advantage.
The third quarter saw the Dragons maintain their healthy lead, allowing them to rotate players and keep them fresh, and a ‘circus’ shot by Vance Silcott topped things off for a 62-50 lead.
But Worthing refused to go down without a fight and gradually pulled back before another three-pointer from Foley, who finished with a 24-point game total, seemed to have settled matters.
Still the Thunder kept coming and they squeezed the deficit to just three points with ten seconds left, at which point a desperation shot was successfully landed and also drew a foul.
This gave them the chance to tie the match with the free throw but Spencer’s miss – taken amid rapturous noise from the packed Dragons Den crowd – left his side just short.
The victory will have lifted Bradford’s spirits ahead of their next home fixture against local rivals Leeds Carnegie on Saturday, February 1.
Meanwhile, the Dragons second team lost their Leeds League game 88-39 at home to Deighton Demons.
But the under-16s travelled to Durham Wildcats and won 82-56 to go top of the EBL North-East Conference Division.
The Dragons under-15s lost 116-90 to unbeaten Sheffield Saints in their top-of-the-table clash but stay second in the EBL North Division table.
The club’s under-14s hosted Cheshire Wire and won 88-77 to go second in their section, while the under-13s maintained their 100 per cent 11-game record with a 94-42 victory over Childwall Academy.