BRADFORD Dragons completed the first half of their 2017-18 season with a 79-73 victory in a War of the Roses clash at Lancashire Spinners.

The hosts, who are rebuilding, had lost all ten matches prior to facing the Dragons, although a second-half recovery almost rewarded them with their first points of the season.

The Lancashire side have been boosted in recent weeks by the addition of Harold Trobo, Oliver Ladlow and Allie Fullah, the latter signing only being announced on the morning of the game.

Meanwhile, the Dragons came into the fixture on the back of an accomplished victory against Reading Rockets at the Dragons' Den.

Latvian forward Rihards Sulcs opened the scoring for the visitors after only 30 seconds but the scores were immediately levelled by Fullah.

The game followed a similar pattern but, with three-and-a-half minutes of the opening period remaining, Fullah gave his side the first clear lead of the game at 17-13, prompting Bradford coach Chris Mellor to call a time-out.

Whatever he said to his players had the desired effect as the Dragons closed out the quarter leading 26-19.

Aristide Baka pulled two points back for the hosts straight from the restart but a three from Marcus Gooding quickly restored Bradford's cushion.

The sides traded baskets for a couple of minutes before Bradford took firm control, with Rafi Saipe, Ricky Fetske, Eisley Swaine, Jermayne Laing, Sulcs and Gooding all contributing as Bradford moved 20 points clear.

However, a three-pointer from Spinners captain Reiss Haggith in the final seconds of the half reduced the gap to 49-32.

If Bradford thought they were home and dry, they had another think coming as the second half produced a far more dogged and determined performance from the Spinners.

When Trobo hit another two halfway through the third period, the lead was down to 50-42.

Bradford never got going during that third period and had it not been for Oliver Hylands, who contributed eight points for the Dragons during the quarter, the scores going into the final sector could have been much closer than 63-54.

Lancashire continued to press and, with just over three minutes of the closing period played, a tip-in by Loick Pouale gave the hosts a sniff of victory as the game was reduced to 68-66.

Swaine responded for the Dragons but even though the Spinners came right back at them, they were forced into giving away fouls as they attempted to regain possession – a tactic that ultimately proved to be their undoing.

With Bradford taking full advantage of the resulting free throws, a safe gap was re-established and at the final hooter, the Dragons had recorded their fifth league victory of the season, leaving Lancashire firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

Yet on the evidence of the second half, that elusive first win cannot be too far away, although whether they avoid relegation is a different matter.

American point guard Gooding came from the bench to top the score charts for the Dragons with 17 points. Sulcs followed up with 13 points, also taking ten rebounds to record yet another double-double.

Both Saipe and Swaine scored 12 points, Hylands chipped in with ten and Fetske (8), who had a relatively quiet afternoon in terms of scoring, took a colossal 16 rebounds. The game-high score went to Trobo with 29 points.

Mellor said: "We had a comfortable lead at half-time but a combination of poor defence, turnovers and them playing much better in the second half made for a tense final few minutes.

"Overall we didn't play great but it was nice to finish the year with a win."

The Dragons resume their league campaign at Derby Trailblazers on Saturday, January 6.

Bradford's under-14s boys won 63-39 at City of Leeds White but the under-16s' home fixture against York Young Eagles was postponed.