Jelan Kendrick of the Bandits pushes the ball forward during CEBL action inside the Abbotsford Centre on Thursday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Fraser Valley Bandits close out season with loss

Bandits finish with 4-16 record, draw crowd of 2,855 for season finale

The Fraser Valley Bandits ended the 2019 Canadian Elite Basketball League the same way they started it – with a loss.

The Bandits shot just 34 per cent, en route to a 95-85 loss to the Edmonton Stingers on Thursday.

Fraser Valley’s fate was sealed in the first quarter, as the team was outscored 24-10 after 10 minutes and couldn’t make up that ground for the remainder of the game. The closest the Bandits got was within six points in the third quarter.

Bandits forward Chris Mclaughlin had a strong game for the home team, collecting 14 rebounds to go with 13 points and three blocks. Guard Tyrrel Tate led all Fraser Valley players with 20 points.

The Stingers shot an impressive 49 per cent from the field, and had 19 points games from Travis Daniels and Mamadou Gueye. Edmonton’s Jordan Baker also had an excellent all-around game with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Despite the team recording its league-leading 16th loss on the season on Thursday, there was a healthy crowd at the Abbotsford Centre. An announced crowd of 2,853 took in the final game for the Bandits.

A notable moment occurred during halftime, when veteran player Ransford Brempong was honoured for his exceptional career in college, the pros and with the Canadian national time. Brempong announced his retirement from the pro game earlier this month. He recorded four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of action in his final professional game.

Brempong, a Brampton, Ont. native, played his college basketball with Western Carolina. He went on to play professional basketball in the Holland, Germany and Canada. He was a two-time Dutch Basketball League all-star during his run in the Netherlands. His career with the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team spanned eight years, and that was highlighted by his appearance in the red and white in the 2008 Summer Olympics Qualifiers.

Fraser Valley finished the season in sixth and last place, with a final record of 4-16. The team opened the season with nine straight losses and closed the year with six consecutive losses.

The numbers for the Bandits in year one are, predictably, not all that pretty. The team only broke the 100-point mark four times, and averaged a league-worst 89.7 points per game. Fraser Valley also recorded the league’s lowest average for steals at 6.5 per game.

The Bandits were ranked fifth in field goal percentage (43.5), three pointers made (182 or 9.1 per game), blocks (2.5) and assists (18.6). Fraser Valley was fourth in the league in rebounds per game (39.8) and three point percentage (34.8).

Jelan Kendrick had the best offensive season for the Bandits, leading the team in points per game with 15.9, rebounds per game at 7.1 and steals per game with 1.6. Guard Marek Klassen was by far the top playmaker on the team and was also the best in the CEBL, averaging 7.2 assists per game. Forward Clint Robinson was the top sharpshooter for the team, making 56 per cent of his shots on the season. Guard Joel Friesen was the most effective Bandits player from beyond the arc, making 41.8 of his three-point shots. Friesen ranked fifth overall in the CEBL in that category.

The team record for most points in a single game was tied between Klassen on Aug. 1 vs. Edmonton and Tate on June 15 vs. the Guelph Nighthawks. Both players scored 27 points in those games.

Next up for the CEBL is the league’s first-ever Championship Weekend event, which occurs in Saskatoon. The Niagara River Lions, Stingers, the Saskatchewan Rattlers and Hamilton Honey Badgers will compete for the title. Semifinal games occur on Aug. 24, with the champion set to be crowned on Aug.25.

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