A DEVASTATING second quarter scuppered Bradford Dragons as they lost 80-67 at Reading Rockets in Division One of the English Basketball League.

Bradford kept it tight during the opening period and trailed by just a single point at 19-18 going into the first break.

But the hosts restricted the Dragons to only five points in the second quarter and held a massive 20-point advantage when the teams went back to the locker room with the score 43-23.

It certainly could not get any worse for the visitors and, following coach Chris Mellor's interval team talk, they regrouped for the second half.

A much more balanced third period saw Reading again increase their lead, although only by a solitary point, and they headed into the final phase 62-41 in front.

While the fourth-placed home side had the game in the bag, Bradford worked hard in the final quarter to make the score more respectable.

But a second loss on the road in successive weekends leaves the Dragons now two points adrift of the final play-offs position.

Canadian shooting guard John Bantock, who has struggled to find his consistency this season, put in a confidence-boosting performance by top-scoring for Bradford with 15 points.

American point guard JP Davis added 13 points to the tally, while Latvian Rihards Sulcs saw the game out with 11 points.

Mellor admitted: "We had an awful second quarter and it was always going to be a tall order to come back from 20 points down.

"We were better after the interval but never really threatened to get close. Reading shot the ball well and we did a poor job of containing the dribble."

Other results for Dragons teams saw the under-14s take all four quarters at local rivals Leeds Force to finish with a 96-67 victory, while the under-16s won 68-59 at City of Birmingham.