BRADFORD Dragons made a 550-mile round trip to Worthing Thunder but came away empty handed after losing 84-80 to the former British Basketball League side.

The Dragons started strongly, building up a seven-point lead (12-5) by the mid-point of the opening quarter. But the hosts restricted them to a mere two points in the rest of the period and it ended with Bradford on the wrong side of a 20-14 scoreline.

Worthing increased their lead to 12 points (32-20) in the second quarter, before the Dragons shifted up a gear and pulled the game back to within three points (39-36) at the half-time buzzer.

Following the break, it was the hosts who again piled on the pressure, building up to a strong 15-point advantage (69-54) with only 30 seconds of the third period remaining.

A two-point jump shot from Adria Rodriguez Vinas, followed up by a couple of free throws by Nick Moore, reduced the gap to 69-58 going into the final break.

The two teams traded baskets for much of the last quarter and the Dragons were still facing a ten-point deficit with only four minutes remaining on the clock.

But slowly the visitors started to eat away at the deficit and with 45 seconds remaining the gap was down to a mere two points (82-80).

In those final seconds, Henri Bongoma missed two three-point attempts and Jermayne Laing was off target with a two-point effort, while Worthing took advantage of a Laing foul to give them a four-point cushion at the end.

Moore and Bongoma each took 23 points to jointly top the scoring for Bradford, with Bongoma taking 12 rebounds as well to complete a double-double. Ricky Fetske also made a personal double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Dragons coach Chris Mellor reflected: "We played okay in the first half but the third quarter got away from us and we were playing catch-up for the last 15 minutes.

"The points they scored off our turnovers were a big factor. We had chances to win the game in the last minutes but didn't take them."

The Dragons next face a tough home fixture against Manchester Magic on Saturday (6.15pm).

Manchester have already beaten Bradford twice this season, in the National Trophy and National Cup, with both those games being played on the other side of the Pennines.

Yet contests between these two sides never fail to disappoint and the National Basketball League Division One game is set to be a real pre-Christmas cracker.

Meanwhile, the Dragons under-18s suffered a heavy 89-43 defeat at York Eagles in their latest fixture, while the under-16s also had a big loss (84-39) at home to Sheffield Junior Sharks.

The under-14s provided the only bright spark on an otherwise miserable weekend for the club, beating neighbours Leeds Force II by a convincing 95-30 scoreline.