BRADFORD Dragons' three game-unbeaten run came to an end as they fell 120-78 to the league-leading Solent Kestrels on Saturday - but they bounced back to defeat Nottingham Hoods on Sunday, 95-94, in a thrilling contest.

Fresh from advancing to the British Basketball League Trophy Final, the 16-0 Kestrels were in no mood to drop their first league game of the season.

Solent’s Travis Charles opened the scoring with a layup. The Dragons' sole lead of the game came seconds later through a Dave Walsh three.

Leading scorer Elliot Sentence knocked down the first of his five threes in the opening quarter as the leaders opened up a 38-19 lead after the first quarter, which then became 69-35 as the first half drew to a close.

Dragons continued to fight in the penultimate quarter, but the offense never managed to get into a rhythm.

Amidst the sizable deficit, Dragons fought with resilience in the final quarter, outscoring the Kestrels 33-28.

But the Dragons were beaten by a much better team on the day.

Head coach Chris Mellor said: “Solent got out to a big first-quarter lead and it was one-way traffic from then on. I’m disappointed we didn’t compete better, but they are a tough nut to crack right now for every team.”

The Dragons' Player of the Game went to Jermayne Laing who recorded 18 points and seven rebounds.

The following day, the Dragons bounced back with a 95-94 victory at home to the Nottingham Hoods, solidifying their position in the final play-off spot with six games to play.

Early momentum resulted in the Dragons gaining an early 17-7 lead. Costly turnovers proved to be a thorn in the Hoods side as Matt Armstrong hit a three that extended the lead to seven (29-22).

However, back came the Hoods. Two layups from Demetrius Houston cut the lead to 29-26 after the first quarter of play.

Scoring all but two of their team’s points in the second quarter, Ward-Hibbert and Houston inspired the comeback to ensure the Hoods led 50-46 at the break.

Dragons came out strongly in the second half. Four of their first seven buckets in the quarter came courtesy of tenacious team offensive rebounding.

A minute into the third quarter, the hosts reeled off 14 straight points to turn the game on its head. Laing, Rihards Šulcs, and Fetske contributed to a lead of 62-53.

The visitors fought back again to within a point of the Dragons to take the score to 62-61.

However, Dragons went into the final quarter of play up by six points (76-70).

The teams were then tied at 88-88 before two free-throws from Jermayne Laing and a layup from Šulcs gave the hosts a 92-88 lead with just over two minutes to play.

However, six straight points from the visitors put them back in the ascendancy 94-92.

Delaney Powell committed an offensive foul on Sulcs, picking up a technical foul. Dragons claimed the point and, with 18 seconds to play, Fetske converted a contested floater.

Houston fired a late shot against the rim but Dragons held on for a 95-94 win to increase their play-off hopes.

Mellor said: “It was an up and down free-flowing game. Thankfully the cards fell our way down the end with the last few plays.”

Laing recorded 23 points, six rebounds and four assists to claim the Bradford player of the match again.

Next up for the Dragons is a trip to face the third-seeded Hemel Storm on Saturday (7pm).