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BRADFORD Dragons travelled to the capital on Saturday evening, where they inflicted an 94-81 defeat upon newly-promoted Westminster Warriors in Division One of the National Basketball League.

The Warriors were the runaway champions of Division Two South last season, with an unblemished 100 per cent win record.

This season they have already beaten four-time NBL champions Team Solent Kestrels, so despite being newcomers to the top flight, the Dragons were prepared for a tough encounter.

But they came away with the two points, their second win from their three matches so far, and moved up to seventh place in the 14-team table as a result, with a game in hand on several of the teams above them.

Bradford’s American power-forward Ricky Fetske won the jump ball at the start of play against Westminster on Saturday, and despite Micah Savery-Richards missing his turnaround jump shot, his teammate, Jordan Whelan, opened the scoring with a three-pointer.

Fetske then extended the lead to five points, before Westminster finally got themselves on the board through a Dre Brown trey.

Fetske restored a four-point gap, sinking both his shots from the line, following a foul by Arif Sempala.

But a further three from Westminster’s Justin Hitchman, followed by a Sempala layup, suddenly saw the Warriors take the high ground.

The lead ebbed and flowed from side to side throughout the first quarter and it wasn’t until the final two minutes of the period that the Dragons finally managed to put some space between the two teams.

As the buzzer sounded, Bradford had a five-point lead to take into the second quarter, going into it 25-20 in front.

Jabari Edwards stole the ball immediately from the restart and made a driving lay-up to further extend the Dragons’ advantage and it wasn’t long before that lead was in double figures at 35-23.

However, Westminster were resolute and they slowly ate away at Bradford’s lead.

With less than two minutes of the half remaining, the gap was back to just a single point, the visitors leading 41-40.

Baskets from Fetske and Savery-Richards stemmed the flow and a three-point buzzer beater from Dave Walsh ensured that the Dragons headed back to the locker room in the ascendency with a 50-43 advantage.

Again, it was the visitors who scored first after the interval, with another successful three-point attempt from Whelan.

Sempala matched that immediately for the hosts, but scores from Jermayne Laing and Walsh saw the away advantage increase to 58-46.

Yet again the home side refused to give up the ghost, and with just under three minutes of the third quarter remaining, Bradford’s lead was only 62-59.

But it was the Dragons who finished the quarter strongest, and when Laing bucketed the final points of the quarter, there was once again a healthy gap between the two sides at 75-61.

The final period was a close-matched affair, with Bradford’s lead fluctuating between nine and 16 points.

Despite the Warriors taking the final quarter, it was by only a single point, leaving the Dragons with a 13-point victory at 94-81.

As has become the norm so far this season, Jordan Whelan took the game high score, landing an impressive 36 points – a performance which landed him a spot in the NBL’s Team of the Week.

Ricky Fetske added 22 points to the Dragons’ tally, just missing out on his double-double with nine rebounds. Also in double figures was Dave Walsh, who registered 12 points.

For Westminster, Dre Brown topped the scores with 19 points, with Arif Sempala close behind on 15 points.

The Dragons return to action this Saturday, in their first home fixture of the NBL season, against London Lions II.

Tip off at Calderdale College’s Inspire Centre is at 6:15pm and tickets can be purchased in advance via the club’s website.



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