Hemel Storm 84 Bradford Dragons 114

AFTER four straight defeats, Bradford Dragons got back to winning ways in spectacular style, with a 30 point victory at Hemel Storm in Division One on Saturday evening.

Following their best start to a National Basketball League campaign, with six straight wins across all competitions, Chris Mellor’s team had suffered consecutive losses against Derby Trailblazers, Worthing Thunder (twice) and Reading Rockets.

However, despite the loss of Drexler Clark and Joaquin Calvo to injury, the Bradford side travelled to Hertfordshire determined to get their season back on track.

The home side took an early four-point lead, but Bradford's Andreas Lycoudis was gifted two shots from the free throw line. He sank both to trigger an unanswered ten-point scoring run for the visitors.

Hemel pulled back to within two, but a two-point jump shop from Jermayne Laing, followed by a three from Lycoudis, extended the Dragons' lead further and they held a commanding 31-17 lead by the buzzer.

Ricky Fetske opened the second quarter with a two and the hosts had little resistance to the Bradford offence. Contributions from each of the Bradford pack sent them into the half-time recess 57-34 clear.

The Dragons quickly extended their lead after the break through Rafi Saipe and Fetske, but a nasty injury soon brought the game to a halt.

Andreas Lycoudis picked up a defensive rebound and was fouled by Hemel's Will Ashby. Ashby was badly hurt in the challenge and play was suspended for almost an hour, while he received medical attention on court.

When the game eventually resumed, the Storm player was on his way to hospital with a dislocated elbow.

The motivated hosts responded with a couple of baskets but they could not extinguish the Dragons' fire and the penultimate period ended with the Bradford side holding an unassailable 89-55 advantage.

Hemel saved some of their best basketball for the final ten minutes but Bradford continued to rack up points of their own, taking a convincing 114-84 victory.

Lycoudis and Laing were on fire for the Dragons, shooting 25 and 22 points respectively, whilst Rafi Saipe also impressed with 19 points.

Fetske (18 points/11 rebounds) and Rihards Šulcs (17 points/10 rebounds) both registered double-doubles for Bradford.

After the game, a jubilant Mellor enthused: “We played very well, with big contributions from all seven players. The starters all shot the ball well and Allie (Fullah) and Matthew (Armstrong) gave us great minutes off the bench.

“It’s nice to get back on track after some disappointing results lately.”

Mellor’s side travel to Leicester Warriors for a 3pm tip-off next Saturday, before the action returns to the Dragons Den the following week, where Team Newcastle University will provide the opposition.

With both of those teams in the lower half of the Division One table, the Dragons will be hopeful of putting a couple more wins on the board.