TEAM Solent Kestrels returned to the SSC with a convincing 92-53 victory over Bradford Dragons in NBL Division One action, writes Jack O'Keeffe.

TSK led from start to finish, controlling the contest for long spells using a clinical defensive performance to improve to 10-0.

Andre Arissol stroked a three to open proceedings, but Dragons' Jermayne Laing would reply instantly with a lay up of his own to get the visitors off the mark.

TSK however had other ideas and would hold Bradford scoreless for the next six minutes of action whilst pouring it on offensively with a balanced scoring effort.

Arissol knocked down another three whilst back-to-back lay ups for Ian Smith pushed the lead to 18-2. Dragons forward Uche Umekwe stopped the drought for them with an and-one, but Kestrels would hold a 22-5 advantage after one.

The sides traded baskets over the first four minutes of the second quarter as both teams found free-scoring rhythm, which better suited the hosts as they were now in front 32-16. Dragons cut the gap to 14 with around four minutes to play in the period which prompted a coach Jack O’Keeffe timeout to settle his side down.

On the back of that a 13-7 scoring run to close the quarter, behind Orlan Jackman and Travis Charles, ensured TSK led by 20 at the break, 47-27.

It was much of the same to start the third quarter as both sides went back and forth, with Smith and Johnathan Lashley doing the scoring for the hosts whilst Great Osobor and Laing ticked the scoreboard over for Bradford.

Rihards Sulcs would manage to trim the gap to just 13 with a little over three minutes to play in the third, but a quick 5-0 response from Lashley sparked a Dragons timeout for coach Chris Mellor, 60-42 TSK.

Osobor continued to impact the scoring for the west Yorkshire side as he cut it back to a 14-point game, but after an exchange of free throws, a Chris Scarlett triple ensured Kestrels went into the final 10 minutes up 65-47.

A 10-0 run to start the fourth for TSK ensured any hopes of a Bradford comeback were dashed early on, as the defensive intensity went up a level for the hosts. allowing them to find a number of transition scores through Lashley and Arissol. They would also hold the Dragons scoreless for just under the first five minutes of the period.

Kestrels continued to pour on the offensive output as Charles and Lashley pushed the deficit well into the 30s. A further 10-0 run to close the game, as TSK’s young bench of Elias Poorman, Kai Walker and Zak Missouri, would further extend the lead and see their side run out 92-53 winners.

TSK’s Lashley led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench whilst Smith and Charles added 15 and 14 respectively.

The Dragons youngster Osobor led the scoring charge for the visitors with 18 points, with Laing the only other player to reach double figures with 10.

TSK’s interim head coach O'Keeffe said: “I thought we showed some excellent defensive spells, both in the first and the fourth, limiting them to 11 points across the two quarters.

"We had some lapses in the third and that slowed us down a little bit offensively, but I was really pleased with how we found solutions to their changing defences and that allowed us to control the game down the stretch.”