BRADFORD Dragons went up against the National Basketball League Division One’s top two teams and came up just short on both occasions, losing 94-88 in overtime against Hemel Storm on Saturday before falling 87-77 to the Solent Kestrels on Sunday afternoon.

The Dragons led for large spells at home to Hemel but ended up on the wrong end of a nailbiting league encounter, as they suffered a first defeat in four.

Ricky Fetske led from the front in the opening minutes, scoring the Dragons' first nine points, before Albert Margai and Jermayne Laing combined for 11 of the next 13.

The Dragons led 22-17 after the first ten minutes and although Hemel pulled it back level, Fetske and Dave Walsh helped an outstanding Bradford go in at half-time 49-40 to the good.

Fetske increased the hosts' lead to 12 at the start of the third quarter, but they then went five minutes without a bucket.

Hemel took advantage to go four points in front, before the Dragons levelled by the buzzer.

When the brilliant Fetske, who ended up with 35 points, drilled home a late three to make it 78-73, the game looked over, but a last-gasp Hemel lay up ensured it was all square at 80-80 going into overtime, where the visitors pulled away.

The following day, the Dragons were beaten by an impressive Solent in the Fourth Round of the National Cup.

The visiting Southerners stormed into a 49-32 half-time lead, having been up by 19 points, but a 12-2 run in the third quarter for Bradford forced the opposition into a time out.

The Kestrels regrouped to end the quarter 17 points ahead, but a resurgent Dragons, led by Walsh, roared back to within four points with less than six minutes to play.

That was as close as they got, but they pushed a top Solent side until the final buzzer.

Head coach Chris Mellor said “We played tired without energy first half. Second half we were much better but trying to climb out of a 19-point hole was always going to be tough.”

The Dragons will look to take those promising performances into Saturday’s NBL Division One home clash against the Westminster Warriors.