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Bradford Dragons dig deep to hold off Medway charge
A depleted Bradford Dragons side emerged 75-69 winners at Medway Crusaders to enhance their push for top spot in Division One of the English Basketball League.
The Dragons currently sit third in the table but can draw level with the teams above them – Hemel Storm and Reading Rockets – if they win their games in hand.
Bradford made the long trip south to Kent for the second time in 15 days and the two sides seemed worse for wear, with both missing a number of key players through injury and illness.
Yet the fiery Dragons made a strong start and, by selflessly sharing possession and showing typical keen defence, built up a 20-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The second period was more equal but Bradford still boasted a ten-point lead over their second-bottom opponents by half-time.
The youthful Medway side appeared unfazed by the deficit as they began to find holes in the visiting defence and now looked good to go on and snatch victory.
But the ever-defiant Dragons managed to wrestle back the initiative and their resilience was rewarded.
Dan Foley led the way with 25 points, backed up by useful contributions from Alejandro Navarro (21) and Carl Pearson (16).
Bradford head coach Chris Mellor said: “We played well in the first quarter but once Medway settled down they began to find their range, although I was pleased with the way we closed out the game.”
Next up for the Dragons is a home game against mid-table Bristol Academy Flyers at Bradford College on Saturday (6.15pm).
Meanwhile, the Bradford second team lost 72-50 at Leeds Mandela in the Leeds & District Premier Division, while the thirds crumbled 97-28 at city neighbours Bradford Maroons.
But the Dragons under-15s comfortably beat Rotherham Hawks 102-44 to stay second in their north-east division contest, while the under-14s also remain second after an 80-63 north division win at Stockport.