BRADFORD Dragons succumbed to a disappointing 86-67 away defeat against the 9-3 Hemel Storm in Division One of the National Basketball League on Sunday.

After a competitive, low-scoring first half, a dismal third quarter performance ensured a third straight league defeat for coach Chris Mellor’s team.

The Dragons were getting good looks early, but struggling to knock down shots, the visitors trailed 8-2, with only a Tyme Regent-Bascombe layup to show for their efforts.

The experienced Jermayne Laing and Rihards Šulcs helped Bradford to close the gap, but a quick 6-0 Storm run allowed the hosts to build a nine-point lead with just over two minutes to play in the opening quarter.

In need of a spark, the Dragons found it once again in the form of impressive youngster Great Osobor.

He lifted the Bradford offence with six late points to reduce the deficit to 20-16 at the end of the quarter.

The Dragons traded buckets with the hosts to keep the game tight at the start of the second quarter, but only down 25-22 after an Andreas Lycoudis three, they scored just one bucket in an almost five-minute stretch of basketball to fall 36-24 behind.

Bradford did respond well to close out the quarter, but the visitors still trailed 38-30 at the end of a low-scoring first half.

Despite only two first half turnovers, 12-40 shooting held the Dragons back in a tight affair.

Neither team had looked like blowing the game wide open after a hard-fought first half, but unfortunately for Bradford, the Storm did just that in the third quarter.

Hemel’s superb three-point shooting was killing the Dragons, and the away side found themselves 50-35 down with just over five minutes to play in the quarter.

Uche Umewke continued to grind inside, scoring eight of Bradford's final 12 points in the quarter, but coach Mellor’s team went into the final 10 minutes down 63-47.

The shooting struggles continued in the fourth, with the Storm ballooning the lead to as many as 29 points (82-53).

The Dragons' young trio of Elijah Walsh, Billy Cousins, and Edvarts Gutmanis showed some promising flashes in the closing stages, instigating a 12-4 run to end the game.

However, the damage had long been done, and the Dragons dropped to a fifth defeat in six league games.

That disappointing second half performance ensured the Dragons left empty-handed, as they fell to 5-6 on the season.

Osobor led the Dragons in scoring with 12 points and nine rebounds, with Šulcs adding 10 points and nine rebounds.

Coach Mellor lamented his team’s underwhelming second half display, saying: “We competed well first half, but they got too many open looks after the break, with other players giving them a balanced scoring attack.”

Next up for the Dragons is the first of three straight pivotal home games, as the struggling Leicester Warriors make the trip to Nottingham on Saturday, March 13, with tip-off at 2pm.