BRADFORD Dragons succumbed to an 87-73 home defeat against Worthing Thunder in Division One of the National Basketball League over the weekend.

A tight game for the opening two quarters, a below-par third quarter cost the Dragons dearly, as they were never able to mount a late comeback.

The Dragons drop to 5-4 in NBL Division One as their three-game home run comes to a frustrating conclusion.

The visitors came out of the gates quickest, but down 8-2 with just a Ricky Fetske basket on the board, the Dragons went on a 14-3 run as Jermayne Laing, Rihards Šulcs and Great Osobor all notched paint scores.

Trading out buckets thereafter, the Dragons were up 17-16 heading into the second quarter of action.

After a relatively low-scoring opening period, the second quarter was anything but, as both teams seemingly found their offensive groove.

The visitors managed six threes in the second period but some vital bench-scoring from young duo Tyme Regent-Bascombe and Osobor saw them combine for 11 of the Dragons’ 26 points in the quarter.

Despite the Thunder’s three-point assault, Bradford were well in the game, down 44-43 going into the interval.

Bradford started the second half in the worst possible way, going scoreless in the first four minutes, and allowing the visitors to establish a commanding 56-43 lead.

Talented youngster Elijah Walsh stopped the bleeding for the Dragons with a much-needed three, but the visitors rallied and built the lead up to a then game-high 16 points (66-50).

Walsh answered again for the Dragons with five straight points to cut the deficit to 11, but the Thunder extended their lead to 12 (69-57) heading into the final quarter of action.

The Dragons were only 11 points behind with just over four-and-a-half minutes left to play, but a timeout allowed Worthing to regroup, and unfortunately for Bradford, after a promising stint of play, a scoreless run over the next two minutes saw the game slip away.

Eight unanswered points saw the Thunder climb into an 85-68 lead and effectively seal the victory, with a late surge for Bradford nowhere near enough.

The Thunder hit 15 threes (15-28) as the Dragons’ recent free-throw shooting woes continued (6-15).

The Official Calderdale College Player of the Game went to Regent-Bascombe, who scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting.

Fetske top-scored for the Dragons with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Rihards Šulcs added 12 points.

Coach Chris Mellor pinpointed the Dragons’ rough third quarter, saying: “It was an even first half, but we got down early in the third and were always playing catch up.

“Worthing shot the ball really well from three, and that was probably the biggest factor.”

Next up for the Dragons is a trip to face unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels this Saturday, with tip-off at 3.30pm.