Bandits guard Marek Klassen drives against Guillaume Payen-Boucard during CEBL action on Thursday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Fraser Valley Bandits win streak stalls at three

Niagara River Lions down Bandits 104-94 inside Abbotsford Centre

The Fraser Valley Bandits three-game win streak came to a crashing holt after a fourth quarter collapse to the Niagara River Lions on Thursday.

Niagara dropped 40 points in the final frame to walk out of Abbotsford Centre with a 104-94 win.

The Bandits were out-rebounded 42-31 by the River Lions, and Fraser Valley gave up 15 offensive rebounds to Niagara. Second chance points saw Niagara outscore the Bandits 17-12.

Bandits head coach Peter Guarasci said some of the team’s mistakes built up as the game went on and cost the club the game.

“Niagara is a very good team and they’re well coached and if you make mistake against them then they make you pay,” he said. “They shoot a lot of three’s so there are a lot of long rebounds and we struggled trying to corral some of them in. We also had some careless outlet passes that I know our guys would want back.”

The River Lions dagger came with 35 seconds left when guard Nem Mitrovic hit a wide open three to put Niagara up 98-84. The Bandits never recovered from that crucial shot.

“We left a shooter in the corner and over rotated – that was a tough one,” Guarasci said. “We did a really good job on Mitrovic the whole game but he got two or three open looks late and it cost us.”

Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen had a strong game for the Bandits, collecting a team-high 23 points and four assists. Forward Levon Kendall contributed with 13 points and seven boards, while Abbotsford’s Joel Friesen provided a spark off the bench with nine points and was a +9 on the floor.

Despite the loss, Guarasci has liked his team’s play in recent weeks. The Bandits win streak saw them hold teams to under 90 points each game, and he said that type of defensive intensity is needed for the club to pick up more wins.

“Defensively we’ve been pretty good,” he said of the club’s past month. “We’re making it difficult for the opposition and sharing the ball more.

He added that additions to the roster like Jelan Kendrick and big man Chris McLaughlin have fit in well.

“Kendrick finds a way to impact the game without demanding too much,” he said. “And McLaughlin is a force out there. Both of those guys were strong for us tonight.”

The Bandits record drops to 3-10 with the loss, and they remain tied for fifth in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. Niagara (11-3) made history last night as they became the first-ever team to qualify for the playoffs.

Fraser Valley returns to action on July 18, when the Hamilton Honey Badgers come to town. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Abbotsford Centre. For more on the team, visit thebandits.ca.

Just Posted

Rental, condo supply grows in Maple Ridge

More projects planned for downtown

Man charged in 2018 hit-and-run in Maple Ridge

Michael Howard Thomas was charged on July 19 in provincial court

Feds chip in $702k to kickstart new daycare program

Will provide 462 new spaces in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Most Read