Bradford Dragons made the long road trip to face Worthing Thunder on Saturday in Division One of the National Basketball League.

But the trek proved worth it, as Bradford came from behind in overtime to claim a thrilling 85-81 victory.

Results to date have not been as expected from either of these two sides, with the pair having only picked up two league wins apiece heading into this encounter, leaving them marooned in the bottom half.

However, with Worthing having played one game less than the Dragons, a home win would in this game would have given them a clear advantage over their guests for the evening.

In front of a packed crowd at the Worthing Leisure Centre, the hosts roared out of the blocks to go 16-7 ahead, while a last-second buzzer-beating layup from Bradford’s Jabari Edwards was only enough for his side to close the deficit to 20-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The second period of play was a completely different story. 

Joe Buchanan kicked things off with a three for the Dragons and though Worthing actually edged eight points in front at one point, a combination of solid defence from Chris Mellor’s side and poor offensive play from the hosts meant they went much of the second quarter without scoring.

That allowed the Dragons to established a 10-point lead of their own and with Thunder only managing three baskets in the quarter, they trailed 34-26 at the interval.

After the break, Zion Tordoff restored the double-figure advantage for Bradford, but Worthing clawed their way back into the contest.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Zion Tordoff (11) was outstanding throughout Bradford's narrow win at Worthing.Zion Tordoff (11) was outstanding throughout Bradford's narrow win at Worthing. (Image: Max Lomas.)

Slowly but surely, they whittled the Dragons’ advantage down, with the visitors only 52-51 ahead at the end of the third quarter.

Worthing went on an 11-point unanswered streak early in the fourth quarter, establishing a 64-55 advantage just over four minutes in.

The Dragons are no strangers to clawing themselves back into games and they gradually set about eroding the home side's advantage.

Baskets from Jordan Whelan and Buchanan proved vital, and brought them back to within a point with just a minute of play remaining.

A Worthing basket left the Dragons three points adrift with only 30 seconds left on the clock, only for Buchanan to nail a long range trey to level the scores at 73-73.

There was still time for one more Worthing offence, but they were unable to convert the last-gasp chance, sending the game into overtime.

A couple of three pointers from Worthing in the opening minute of the additional period gave them a healthy six-point advantage.

But Whelan then responded with a trey of his own and Tordoff followed that with a two to leave the Dragons just 79-78 down at the midpoint of the period.

A missed layup from the hosts proved costly, with Bradford picking up the rebound and sending the ball to Buchanan.

As he leapt to take a three point shot he was fouled, sending him to the line for three shots.

Buchanan sank all three to give the Dragons a two-point lead, but two successful shots from the line for Worthing, after a foul by Sulcs, brought them level.

A chaotic few second followed, but after Buchanan missed with a three point attempt, he was game-aware enough to claim his own rebound and lay the ball off to Whelan, who was fouled.

Whelan went to line to shoot twice and sank both efforts nervelessly.

With only six seconds remaining Whelan was fouled again and the Dragons guard made no mistake from the line, putting the game beyond Worthing’s reach and ensuring his side won 85-81.

Jordan Whelan topped the Bradford scorers with 19 points although, once again, it was Zion Tordoff who led the line for Bradford with 17 points and 14 rebounds, recording what is becoming a customary double-double for the Bradford born forward. 

Bradford’s attention now moves on to a double header this coming weekend.

Tomorrow, the Derby Trailblazers enter the Dragons’ Den for another NBL1 fixture.

Derby currently sit second in the league and will prove a tough opponent for Bradford, but with the sides set to meet again in the upcoming KitKing Trophy Final, both teams will be keen to put their marker down.

The game on Saturday tips off at 6:15pm, at Calderdale College’s Inspire Centre, and tickets are available to purchase online via the clubs website.

All online purchases made before 11pm on Friday qualify for a Buy One Get One Free offer.

The following day, the Dragons travel to Newcastle University for a National Cup fifth round fixture, with Bradford looking to avenge their home defeat against Newcastle two weeks ago.