Bandits big man Levon Kendall battles Shaquille Keith of the Rattlers in the paint during CEBL action on Thursday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Fraser Valley Bandits fall on home court

Saskatchewan posts big win, Bandits playoff hopes fading fast

A third quarter collapse spelled doom for the Fraser Valley Bandits on Thursday.

The visiting Saskatchewan Rattlers outscored the Bandits 26-13 in the third, and carried that outburst to a 91-79 win at the Abbotsford Centre.

It was a reversal of fortunes for the Bandits, after the team battled back in the second quarter by outscoring the Rattlers 28-16 and headed into halftime up 41-40.

The Bandits also struggled in the first quarter, and trailed 24-13 after the opening 10 minutes.

Turnovers were a big issue for Fraser Valley on Thursday, as the team gave up the ball 26 times, which led to 34 points generated from the Rattlers.

Jelan Kendrick was again the top performer for the Bandits, scoring 21 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and collecting three assists. However, he took 17 shots to get to 21 points.

Abbotsford native Joel Friesen also had a strong game off the bench, as the Yale Secondary grad scored 15 points in just over 18 minutes. Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen also had a solid game, scoring 16 points and dishing out seven assists.

The Bandits had no answer for debuting Rattlers player Shaquille Keith, who scored a game-high 27 points and added five assists. Saskatchewan’s Terry Thomas also had good showing coming off the bench, with 14 points and eight boards.

Fraser Valley’s record drops to 4-12 now on the season, and the loss essentially eliminated the team from the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s championship weekend tournament. The Bandits must win all four remaining games, and also hope the Hamilton Honey Badgers fail to win any of their final five games. Any combination of a Bandits loss or a Hamilton win will end any hopes.

The Bandits next hit the road for games in Edmonton on Aug. 1 and then Saskatchewan on Aug. 2. The club returns home on Aug. 8 when the Niagara River Lions return to the Abbotsford Centre. The Bandits then play the final home game of the season on Aug. 15 when they host the Edmonton Stingers.

For more on the team, visit thebandits.ca.

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