NOTTINGHAM Hoods were slain at the Dragons’ Den on Saturday evening, in what was Bradford’s final fixture before the Christmas break.

In a tightly-fought encounter, the home side finished strongly to take an 82-71 win, leapfrogging the Hoods in the National Basketball League Division One table in the process.

Coming into the game, the Dragons sat one position and two points below their opponents, who had also played one game more, so Chris Mellor’s side knew that a victory would see them move ahead in the rankings.

With team captain Ricky Fetske missing through injury Micah Savery-Richards stepped in for the jump ball at the start of the game.

In the absence of their experienced American skipper, the Dragons made a slow start, shipping the first six points, before a three from Jordan Whelan got them on the board, just over three minutes into the contest.

The two sides then matched one another almost point for point, before another Whelan three, right on the buzzer, ensured the Dragons closed the first quarter 21-19 ahead.

Jacques Misambu scored Bradford’s first points of the second quarter, putting them two points up from the foul line.

There was little to split the two sides thereafter, and though Bradford managed to establish a 37-32 midway through the period, their guests clawed themselves back into it and within a couple of minutes they led 38-37.

The Hoods ended the half with a narrow 42-41 advantage, and established that lead to six points just after the break.

Rihards Šulcs and Savery-Richards broke that dangerous Nottingham run, and although the visitors established a 51-48 lead, two lay-ups from Jabari Edwards and another from Misambu flipped the game on its head.

Having finally pulled back in front, a trey from Whelan on the buzzer ensured that, all of a sudden, the Dragons had racked up the biggest lead of the game so far, going into the final period 64-56 ahead.

With Bradford now in the ascendancy, Justin Williams hit a trey followed by twos from Edwards and Whelan.

When Williams took advantage of a technical foul committed by Nottingham, he came up with a single to establish a sizeable 72-56 advantage.

Nottingham pulled things back slightly, but then their head coach, Dan Watts, entered into a heated discussion with one of the officials and another technical foul was called, with Williams converting from the line to make the score 73-60 to the hosts.

Šulcs added a further two pointer and though Nottingham hit back briefly, a Dave Walsh trey, put finally put the game out of Nottingham’s reach.

With less than two minutes remaining, Mellor took the opportunity to give some time on the court to Camron Simpson, who was celebrating his 16th birthday.

Williams converted two from the foul line to increase the difference to 17, but that was to the Dragons’ final contribution, as Nottingham hit threes to finish the game.

The game’s high scorer was Whelan, who contributed 29 points for the Dragons, supported by Williams on 15 points.

Captain for the night, Rihards Šulcs, took a total of 13 rebounds, 11 of which were at the defensive end.

The Dragons move into fifth position in the league table with the victory, while Nottingham drop down to seventh.

The season resumes on Saturday, January 7, when the Dragons will once again be at home, this time to Worthing Thunder.

Thunder went nine games unbeaten at the start of the season but have since lost their last two.

Tickets for the game will be available to purchase online from Tuesday, December 27 via the club’s website.

The club would like to remind supporters that they can save money by booking online, compared to the on-the-door prices on game night.