BRADFORD Dragons succumbed to a difficult 105-82 defeat at Hemel Storm.

With Leicester Warriors losing too, a four-point buffer in favour of Dragons still separates the two teams vying for the final playoff spot.

The hosts, who were coming off three consecutive losses, got off to a red-hot start opening the game with ten straight points.

Dragons responded by scoring seven points courtesy of an Andreas Lycoudis three and four points from captain Ricky Fetske.

As Jake Murphy converted an and-one opportunity, Hemel’s lead had grown to 27-15 with just under 30 seconds to play in the opening quarter.

A Dave Walsh layup cut the home side's lead to 27-17 as the first 10 minutes came to a close.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern of play as Hemel maintained their double-digit lead.

After a converted and-one opportunity from Jermayne Laing had reduced the deficit to 13 points, the 23-year-old American guard swished home the most unlikely of threes at the buzzer. Dragons went into the interval down 54-38.

The blistering shooting from Storm was too much for Coach Mellor’s team to handle after they scored 27 points in the third.

Two layups from Bode Adeloula and Walid Mumuni increased the Hemel lead to 20, minutes into the penultimate quarter.

Down by as many as 28, the Dragons did rally together a 10-2 run in the final two minutes of the quarter to reduce the deficit to 88-68.

With any hopes of a Dragons comeback quickly stifled, an additional eight assists in the fourth helped push Hemel on their way to a comfortable victory.

Coach Mellor said: "We never really got any kind of foothold in the game and we were not at the required level defensively. Hemel shot the ball very well and it was a tough night for us.”

With just five games left of the regular season, Dragons will look for a swift response in next weekend’s doubleheader against Westminster Warriors and Reading Rockets.