Bradford Dragons denied after agony in overtime

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Top scorer Carl Pearson lines up a shot for the Dragons against Leeds Top scorer Carl Pearson lines up a shot for the Dragons against Leeds

Injury-hit Bradford Dragons overcame an 18-point deficit to force overtime but eventually ran out of steam as they lost 100-85 to neighbours Leeds Carnegie in EBL Division One.

Carl Pearson scored an impressive 26 points for the Dragons but this was matched by Rowell Graham-Bell for the visitors.

Despite the defeat, Bradford retain third place in the table with ten wins and five losses, while Leeds are seventh with an 8-7 record.

The local derby opened relatively evenly, with both sides seeming to be feeling the pressure of the big crowd and scale of the game at Bradford College.

Long three-pointers by Nathan Ashley and Dan Foley helped the home side edge the first quarter 23-21. But Leeds began the second period with a 13-4 run and extended that advantage to finish the half leading 45-31.

Pearson took the fight to Leeds at the start of the second half with consecutive drives to the basket as the Dragons slashed their opponents’ lead to just five points.

Bradford threw every ounce of energy at the visitors and a three-pointer by talisman Dan Foley tied the game at 73-73.

Neither side could finish the game in regulation, so it went into overtime at 78-78. But Bradford’s injuries began to tell and, with centre Chris McGrew and power forward Vance Silcott both sitting out, Leeds took full advantage.

The Dragons travel to play third-bottom Medway Park Crusaders on Saturday, while their next home game is against mid-table Bristol Academy Flyers on Saturday, February 15 (6.15pm).

Bradford’s second team also lost at home, 93-43 to Bradford Lithuanians in their latest Leeds Premier League game.

But the under-16s triumphed 86-78 away to Leeds Carnegie Seconds and the under-15s were comfortable 78-46 winners at Gateshead Phoenix, while the table-topping under-13s maintained their 100 per cent record 106-56 at home to Manchester Magic.

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