Bradford Dragons 75 Worthing Thunder 89

Bradford Dragons 89 Reading Rockets 95

HAVING made a fine start to the National Basketball League season, Bradford Dragons have now slipped to four straight defeats, with Worthing Thunder and Reading Rockets their latest conquerors.

Worthing arrived in the Dragons’ Den on Saturday, having categorically dispatched Bradford out of the National Cup last Sunday.

The Dragons were determined to reverse that result in this Division One fixture, and they opened the scoring with baskets from Jermayne Laing and Rihards Šulcs.

Thunder improved as the quarter progressed, and they overturned Bradford's early advantage to lead 22-18 at the first buzzer.

The visitors found their swagger in the second quarter and they romped into a staggering 50-30 half-time lead to leave the Dragons seemingly dead and buried.

The hosts quickly reduced the deficit to 15 points in the third quarter, but Worthing remained in control to lead 65-50 by the buzzer.

Bradford saved their best basketball until the final quarter and they gradually ate away at the visitors' lead. A layup by Šulcs with five minutes left brought them just six behind, with a panicked Worthing calling a time out.

On the restart, as Drexler Clark launched for the layup, he was caught by a Worthing defender, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder and four weeks out on the sidelines.

The referees failed to spot the foul though and Thunder attacked, earning a couple of free throws after a foul by Šulcs.

The Dragons fought back and Laing sank a two to bring the Dragons to within three, but Worthing then stepped up their game and finished with a flurry of baskets to win 89-75.

University of Bradford Player of the Game, Ricky Fetske, top scored for Bradford with 24 points, while Šulcs achieved another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Reading Rockets were next into the Den the following day and they opened the scoring quickly. Bradford were always on the back foot, and went in 28-21 behind at the first buzzer.

In the second period, the Dragons edged two points in front as half-time approached, but a speculative three-pointer put Reading 49-48 ahead at half-time.

The third quarter belonged to the Dragons, who went about their business in efficient manner and led 77-70 by the buzzer.

But, with Bradford now looking the more likely winners, it all went wrong at the death, despite Andreas Lycoudis quickly increasing the lead to ten.

Reading regained the lead after only four minutes of the final period and eventually took the win 95-89.

Šulcs was player of the game with 25 points. Lycoudis also made an impressive 22 points while Rafi Saipe added a further 19 to the Dragons' total.

Bradford coach, Chris Mellor, reflected: “I was pleased with our effort level in both games but we had to come back from a big hole against Worthing and a poor last period was our undoing against Reading.”

Next up for the Dragons is a trip to struggling Hemel Storm next Saturday, with tip-off at 7pm.