BRADFORD Dragons fell to a 92-53 away defeat at the hands of the unbeaten Solent Kestrels in Division One of the National Basketball League on Saturday.

A disastrous opening period gave the Dragons everything to do, and, despite very much holding their own in the next two quarters, an equally poor final 10 minutes ensured a heavy defeat for Chris Mellor’s team, who dropped to 5-5 in NBL Division One.

Solent opened the scoring with a three. Jermayne Laing responded with a layup, but then the Dragons went on a six-and-half minute scoreless run.

All five of the Kestrels’ starters scored to leave the Dragons down 18-2, with just under two minutes to play in the quarter.

Uche Umekwe stopped the bleeding with a much-needed layup, but the hosts closed out the quarter with four straight points to lead 22-5.

That meant Bradford were held to a season-low for points in a quarter, after shooting just 2-20 in the opening period.

The Dragons had to dig in and show some resolve in the face of adversity, and to their credit, they did just that.

The second quarter was a much tighter affair, with Bradford working hard to cut into the deficit.

Great Osobor scored seven points in the quarter as the Dragons were edged 25-22 in the period.

The visitors managed to cut the deficit to 14, but sloppy turnovers killed any momentum they had generated, and the hosts quickly re-established a 20-point lead.

Heading into the break, Bradford trailed 47-27 on the south coast.

After the interval, like in the second quarter, the Dragons stood toe-to-toe with the Kestrels and fought to reduce the deficit, but were unable to cut it to single digits.

The visitors outscored their unbeaten hosts, 20-18, in that penultimate quarter, but the first quarter disaster still proved to be the difference moving into the fourth at 65-47.

After withstanding the Dragons' runs in the second and third quarters, the Kestrels repeated their dominant first period, as the visitors went ice cold on the offensive end.

Twelve straight points to open the quarter (80-48) quickly sealed Bradford's fate, as Mellor’s team went scoreless for almost four-and-a-half minutes.

A lop-sided final quarter saw the Dragons outscored 27-6, as a difficult afternoon came to a close in Southampton.

The final score was 92-53 to Solent. 20-69 shooting and 20 turnovers were the game's key storylines for the Dragons, who fell to a fourth defeat in five league matches.

Osobor top-scored for Bradford with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.

Coach Mellor highlighted his team’s slow start, saying: “It was a tough night for us.

“It got out of hand early, and although we pulled it back to 13 points late in the third, they ran away from us in the fourth quarter.”

Next up for the Dragons is a trip to face the 8-2 Hemel Storm in NBL Division One action this Sunday, with tip-off at 5pm.