BRADFORD Dragons made the journey to Colchester on Saturday for a crucial fixture against rival play-off hopefuls, Essex Rebels.

In what was possibly the Dragons’ most comprehensive team performance of the National Basketball League Division One season so far, they silenced the Rebels with a huge 98-60 victory.

This season’s league table is currently one of the closest in history, with only six points separating the fourth and 10th-placed teams.

With only the top eight sides qualifying for the end of season play-offs, every point gained is crucial at present.

While the Dragons already held one of those prized berths in the standings, the Rebels were down in 11th going into this game, but only sat four points off the coveted top eight.

Bradford started the game at pace, with Rihards Sulcs and Ricky Fetske combining to put up the first nine points of the game.

The Rebels quickly reduced the deficit, but the Dragons were in determined mood and pulled away again.

With just over a minute of the quarter remaining, Jacques Misambu hit a trey to put the Dragons 12 points clear.

However, late scores from Essex saw them reach the buzzer only 25-19 behind.

Jordan Whelan hit a further three in the opening seconds of the second period, which was followed by the same from Justin Williams and a two from Micah-Savery Richards.

The Dragons were in total control throughout the quarter, restricting their hosts to just eight points and taking a huge 34 of their own.

As the sides returned to the locker rooms at half-time, the Rebels were facing a huge 59-27 deficit.

After the break, the game took time to get going again, with neither side scoring in the opening two minutes.

However, Fetske made the breakthrough with another trey to further extend the visitors' lead to 35 points.

The third quarter was a much tighter affair than the previous one, as that gap held until the buzzer, the Dragons entering the final period 81-46 in front..

With only three minutes of the game remaining, Dragons coach Chris Mellor took the opportunity to give some minutes to 16-year-old Camron Simpson for the second game running.

The young academy student wasted no time in making his mark on the game, scoring seven points in his short time on court.

At the final buzzer, and having led throughout the entire game, the Dragons recorded their biggest win of the season so far.

It has moved them into joint-fifth in the table, just two points behind Reading Rockets, with sides in the top four earning a coveted home fixture in the play-off first round.

In a game in which all 10 of the Dragons’ game day roster scored, Fetske and Williams contributed 17 points apiece.

They were closely followed by Savery-Richards and Whelan on 16 points each. ]

But the standout player for the Dragons was Sulcs, whose 11 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals earned him a spot on the Rebound NBL Team of the Week.

Dragons head coach Mellor said afterwards: “With five games remaining and the league table being so congested, there is obviously still a lot to play for.

“I feel that we have improved defensively as the season has progressed and with four of our last five games being on the road, at Thames Valley, Derby, Newcastle and Worthing, maintaining our defence mindset and focus will be the target.”

The first of those away fixtures is this Saturday at Thames Valley Cavaliers. The fixture at Uxbridge College tips off at 6:30pm.

The following Saturday, the Dragons visit Derby Trailblazers in the first of two games that weekend.

The next day, Essex will make the return trip to the Inspire Centre at Calderdale College, where the Dragons will be hoping to repeat last weekend's win.

Tickets for the Rebels fixture, which tips off at 4:15pm, can be purchased in advance from the club website.