BRADFORD Dragons put up a brave fight in their final National Basketball League fixture but an 89-87 loss to Manchester Magic now leaves their Division One play-off fate in the balance.

The Dragons travelled to the Amaechi Basketball Centre knowing that a win would all but secure their berth. But although they hit back from 16 points down, it was not quite enough.

There are still four teams – Bradford, Worthing Thunder, Leicester Warriors and Tees Valley Mohawks – in with a chance of claiming one of the final two berths in the end-of-season tournament.

Should the Mohawks lose tomorrow evening at local rivals Team Northumbria, the Dragons' qualification would be just about confirmed. Otherwise, they will need to wait until next weekend for the outcome to be settled.

Dragons head coach Chris Mellor reflected: "We played hard, rebounded well and had a last shot to try and get the win.

"But the game got away from us after half-time and we were still down by 14 points with five minutes to go. It's tough to make up that kind of deficit with so little time remaining.

"It is now out of our own hands and we are waiting on other results to go our way. Hopefully we can still sneak the eighth spot."

Bradford had the better of the opening quarter, taking a six-point advantage into the first break. But Manchester hit back strongly and at half-time it was the hosts who led 48-41.

Magic piled on the pressure to extend that cushion to 75-59 and, with only five minutes remaining, they were still 82-68 up.

But the Dragons then stepped up a gear against a Manchester side depleted by foul trouble and when Rafi Saipe sank a three-point shot with only 6.9 seconds left on the clock, it became a two-point game.

A slack Magic turnover presented Bradford with the opportunity to complete an amazing turn-around but Ellis Cooper pulled off a vital steal that allowed the relieved home side to hang on.

Jeremee Davis top-scored for the Dragons with 23 points, 16 of them coming in the final quarter. Spaniard Miguel Lorenzo added 20, while Rihards Sulcs picked up 15 and also eight rebounds.