BRADFORD Dragons succumbed to a 97-85 away defeat at the weekend against the 14-1 Thames Valley Cavaliers in Division One of the National Basketball League.

The Dragons went blow-for-blow with the hosts in the first half as Great Osobor erupted for 25 points, but a lacklustre third quarter allowed the Cavaliers to take control of proceedings.

Defeat meant the undermanned Dragons drop to 6-10 on the season

After ending the Solent Kestrels’ two-year unbeaten league run the previous weekend, the Cavaliers came into Saturday evening’s clash with nine straight league victories to their name.

And it looked ominous early on for Bradford, as Thames Valley opened up a 20-8 lead halfway through the opening period.

Desperately in need of a spark, the visitors got it in the form of their two young starlets, Osobor and Elijah Walsh.

Walsh made an instant impact off the bench, with six quick points in an 11-4 run that cut the home side’s lead to 28-23.

The Cavaliers closed the quarter with five straight points to lead the Dragons 33-23.

The young Bradford tandem continued where they left off in the opening period, both knocking down threes in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter.

Soon after, 10 straight points pulled the Dragons level at 39-39, before young Osobor single-handedly took over proceedings.

Eight straight points from the 18-year-old ensured the Dragons stayed afloat against the red-hot hosts.

Scoring in a variety of ways, Osobor fired in 17 second quarter points as the Dragons went into half-time tied at 49-49.

Walsh scored nine of the Dragons’ first 11 points in the second half, propelling the visitors into a game-high six-point lead at 58-52.

But then came the expected fightback, as two dominant Thames Valley runs saw them open up a 71-62 lead.

The Cavaliers combined scintillating attacking play with mean defence, and nine straight points to end the quarter allowed them to build up an 80-65 lead.

Despite outscoring the hosts 20-17 in the fourth quarter, with Osobor adding eight points to complete a monster game, the eight-man Dragons rotation came up short down the stretch.

Osobor led all scorers with a mammoth 33 points and 13 rebounds in a truly sensational performance from the youngster.

Elijah Walsh scored 17 points, with Uche Umekwe adding 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Coach Chris Mellor said afterwards: “The game just got away from us with five minutes left in the third quarter, and that was the decisive run in the game.”

Next up for the Dragons is an NBL Division One clash in Nottingham against the Derby Trailblazers on Saturday, with tip-off at 7.15pm.

This is followed up on Sunday with a ‘home’ fixture, again in Nottingham, in which Bradford are actually hosting the Nottingham Hoods. Tip-off is at 2pm.