BRADFORD Dragons put in an impressive performance against National Basketball League table-toppers Derby Trailblazers, the lead changing hands ten times, but their 82-72 defeat was their sixth straight loss.

Derby entered the Dragons' Den fresh from a sensational 31-point victory against Worthing Thunder the night before – but Bradford had already beaten the Trailblazers in the National Trophy earlier in the season.

The Dragons were without club captain Vance Silcott, who is on international duty representing Montserrat, and the visitors were fastest out of the blocks, quickly racking up a four-point.

But three swift baskets from American point guard JP Davies brought Bradford back into it and the lead chopped and changed throughout the rest of a tense first quarter, which ended with the Dragons leading 22-18.

Derby again took the early initiative at the start of the second period and soon tied the score at 22-22, only for the Dragons to go on a scoring spree to build a 13-point lead.

But the Trailblazers were not going to let Bradford have things all their own way and by the half-time interval, the Dragons only led 43-40.

Early in the third quarter, a brave defensive block by Tamas Szlavik ended with the Hungarian smashing into the wall at the end of the court, ending his involvement for the Dragons. Derby then seized control, holding a 56-53 advantage at the end of the period.

The decisive quarter started with Derby extending their advantage to nine. But once again the Dragons stepped things up, scoring 15 unanswered points, only for Derby to reply with 13 straight.

By the time Bradford called their final time-out, with 39 seconds left, they trailed by five points and had resorted to giving away fouls in a vain attempt to try and salvage something from the game.

Top scorers for Bradford, who remain rock bottom of the table with one win from seven, were Rihards Sulcs with 27 points – which included an impressive eight from eight at the free-throw line – and Davies (17). Christopher Shalvoy netted 16 for Derby, while Raheem May Thompson and Alex Dorr each scored 13.

Bradford head coach Chris Mellor said: "Apart from some unforced turnovers, I was happy with the way we played in the first half.

"But once again, despite getting some momentum at crucial moments in the second half, we finished poorly and were unable to close out the win."

The Dragons next face Newham (NASSA) Neptunes on Saturday before returning to the Dragons' Den to face Worthing Thunder the following weekend.

Elsewhere for the club, the under-14s beat Leeds Tigers 136-11 but were stung by a 94-64 defeat by Sheffield Saints on Sunday, which left Sheffield top of the Northern Section with Bradford secure in second.