Bandits guard Rodney Prior finishes a dunk against Hamilton on Wednesday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Fraser Valley Bandits drop to 0-3

Abbotsford-based pro basketball team loses 102-88 to Hamilton on Wednesday

The Fraser Valley Bandits continue to be unable to steal wins from the opposition, and remain the only winless team in Canadian Elite Basketball League after falling 102-88 to the Hamilton Honey Badgers at the Abbotsford Centre on Wednesday night.

Fraser Valley came out red-hot in the opening quarter, leading by as many as nine at one point, and the home side ended the first up 26-21. Momentum swayed to the Honey Badgers in the second, and Hamilton led 46-44 at the half.

The Honey Badgers took over in the third, outscoring the Bandits 30-11 and essentially securing the win with a 76-55 lead after three. The Bandits managed some offence in the fourth, cutting the lead to as low as 13, but the club couldn’t fight back.

Fraser Valley’s rebounding proved to be a major issue in the game, as Hamilton dominated the glass by grabbing 54 boards to the Bandits 22. The locals also struggled from the field, shooting just 35 per cent compared to a strong 46 per cent from the visitors.

Bandits guard Rodney Prior led all Fraser Valley players with 22 points, and he added five assists and three rebounds. Forward Tyrrel Tate also produced 16 points and grabbed four rebounds. Forward Troy Gottselig was also efficient off the bench, scoring 14 points and shooting five for six from the field. Centre Dallin Bachynski made all five shots he took, and also grabbed four boards.

Players with off nights included guard Jaylen Bland, who shot 2/13 from the field but made up for that by collecting a team-high five rebounds. Abbotsford’s Joel Friesen still has yet to make a shot on home court, as the Yale Secondary grad went zero for five on Wednesday, he did make all five attempts from the free throw line for a five point night.

The loss drops the Bandits record to 0-3 on the season, and they sit in last place in the CEBL. According to Bandits officials, paid attendance for the game was 2,106.

The club next travels to Hamilton for a re-match against the Honey Badgers on May 29, and then remain on the road when they take on the Niagara River Lions on May 31. The road trip continues when the team takes on the Edmonton Stingers in the Alberta capital on June 7. The next home game occurs on June 13, when the Saskatchewan Rattlers come to town. That game is set for 7 p.m.

In other CEBL news, the league announced the set-up for its first-ever Championship Weekend, which runs from Aug. 22 to 25 in Saskatoon.

The top three teams, including the host Saskatchewan Rattlers, will battle it out in semi-final and final games, with the league champion set to be determined on Aug. 25.

For more on the weekend, visit cebl.ca/championship-weekend-2019.

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