Marek Klassen helped lead the Bandits to an 84-70 win over the Guelph Nighthawks on Wednesday. The Bandits secured the second seed in the CEBL Summer Series with the win. (CEBL photo)

Marek Klassen helped lead the Bandits to an 84-70 win over the Guelph Nighthawks on Wednesday. The Bandits secured the second seed in the CEBL Summer Series with the win. (CEBL photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

A dominant second half performance by the Fraser Valley Bandits led to a crucial 84-70 win over the Guelph Nighthawks on Wednesday, and the victory gives the club a bye to the CEBL semifinals.

Fraser Valley finished the round robin at 4-2 and earned the second seed with the win.

As a reminder, the Bandits went 4-16 in 2019.

Jahenns Manigat was lights out from the field on Wednesday, nailing six of nine shots from beyond the arc and collecting 20 points, four rebounds and four steals. Olu Ashaolu also had a strong game with 17 points and six rebounds. Ashaolu also drew an impressive nine fouls.

But it was the performance off the bench of Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen that helped the Bandits steer the ship after a shaky second quarter that saw them allow 33 points.

Klassen had a solid all-around game with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals and put in valuable minutes in the second half.

“Big win for us,” he said, following the game. “Our team came out and it wasn’t even the guys starting that had big minutes and made big shots at the end for us.”

Klassen thanked local fans for their support during the Summer Series and said the goal is to bring home a championship.

“We’re going to try and bring this thing home and that was a big first step today,” he said.

He added that having an extra day off, especially in a compressed schedule like the Summer Series will be a big advantage for the Bandits.

The Bandits enter the playoff round seeded second, and automatically advance to the final four on Saturday thanks to a bye. It’s unclear who that opponent will be or when the game will occur. If successful, the Bandits will advance to the CEBL final on Sunday.

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