BRADFORD Dragons’ adventures in this season’s KitKing Trophy came to an end on Saturday evening, following a 99-78 quarter-final defeat at Hemel Storm.

Bradford started well, taking the first points of the game, with a two-pointer from Jordon Whelan straight from the tip.

Although the Storm twice pulled away into a five-point lead, the Dragons kept themselves close and, with just four seconds of the period remaining, Michah Savery-Richards layed up to give them a 23-22 advantage going into the first break.

Again, the Dragons started strongly in the second quarter, building up the biggest lead of the game so far at 31-25, and were still two points in front six minutes into the period.

Aaryn Rai then levelled the game for the hosts and when Dave Walsh then failed to put down his three-point attempt, the Storm hit a rich vein of form and bucketed the next 10 points of the game.

Walsh temporarily stemmed the flow, this time sinking for three.

But that was the Dragons’ last score of the half and Hemel headed back to the locker rooms with a strong 11-point advantage (49-38).

After the interval, the hosts stretched their lead to 15 points before Walsh finally got the Dragons back on the board, this time with a two-point lay-up.

But Hemel were the team in the ascendency and with only two minutes of the penultimate period remaining, they had further stretched their lead to a massive 21 points at 70-49.

However, Bradford fought hard and did manage to reduce the deficit to just 12, before a final three-pointer of the quarter, from Hemel’s Jack Burnell, sent the hosts into the final period with a 75-60 lead.

Bradford continued to fight and four minutes into that final period they had managed to reduce Hemel’s advantage to just 10 points, at 81-71.

But the hosts were just too strong on the day and put the next 13 points on the board without reply.

Bradford were not disgraced and, in the dying seconds of the game, rookie Ethan Rose scored his first two points in a Dragons’ jersey.

The game ended with Hemel Storm taking a 99-78 win and progressing to the semi-finals of the Trophy, against Reading Rockets.

Whelan continued his fantastic start to the season, netting the game’s high score with 25 points towards the Dragons’ total.

Savery-Richards followed up with 18 points, while both Walsh (13) and Jermayne Laing (10) also hit double figures for Bradford.

Rai topped the bill for Hemel with 24 points, assisted by 20 points from Taylor Johnson and 18 from Hakeem Sylla.

The Dragons are not in action this weekend, with their next outing once again at Hemel Storm, this time in their opening National Basketball League Division One fixture on Saturday, October 15.

Tip-off for that encounter will be at 7pm.