Photo Credit Sportswave
What was a win off the court for the Vancouver Bandits saw them drop a close contest to the Visiting Sea Bears byu a 106-103 margin.
This was the Bandits second annual School Day Game that saw students from Langley and surrounding communities attend the 11 AM tip-off with 31 schools ranging from Vancouver to Abbotsford.
On hand for the game was CEBL Commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale along with the TSN broadcast crew for a live broadcast which adds to the success of the league.
As usual Sportswave are welcomed by the Langley Events Centre who have a first class facility to host not only this event but others such as the Vancouver Giants and the annual High School Basketball Championship among others.
The expansion Sea Bears (3-1) who are coached by former Bandits Mike Taylor managed to get only their second win in as many tries against Vancouver (1-3) after winning the season-opener by a 90-85 in Winnipeg.
The start saw them have a narrow lead, they led 13-12 at the midway point in the first quarter that saw the Bandits trail 28-21 after the first quarter with the deficit reaching 22 at the half being down 60-38.
They managed to pull within eight in the third then fell behind by double digits when the Target Score was triggered in the fourth it was 97-81 with a target score set at 106.
The Bandits managed to get three-point shots in the Target Score as they sank five of eight from beyond the arc to pull within two points, at 105-103.
said Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius “Five out, spacing, timing, tempo. The guys were really listening to the attacks we wanted to make (and) we had really good spacing.”
He continued “He also called this the team’s best game offensively in terms of getting the shot attempts they like and how he wants the team to play.
“Offensively, I was very pleased; the defence is a whole other story; we had good stretches defensively.”
Winnipeg had four chances to pull out to win only to have strong play by the Bandits force three misses and a turnover.
The end of the game saw foul calls and Julius knows that is not where the game was lost, especially considering this was the second time in four games that the opponent reached over the 100 points
Following the match Julius mentioned “Let’s be realistic, we didn’t lose the game in the last three possessions; we lost that game through the last half of the first quarter, the second half of the third quarter. I felt every sub we made today, we lost energy, we lost rhythm, we lost tempo. I thought we had five guys that were really ready to play today and the rest weren’t.”
Hitting the Road:
The Bandits were led by MJ Walker with 26 points on a 61 percent shooting, sinking four threes in the process that saw Nick Ward finish the contest as the team’s next highest scorer with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting along with six rebounds.
Overall it wasn’t a pretty game which some called either lackluster or simply sloppy with both teams combining for seven turnovers in the first six minutes that saw the Bandits get their “mojo” collecting a 13-3 run going up by six.
Walker; the NBA-experienced guard sank 11 of his team’s 19 points after one heading into the
second but it was short lived as the Honey Badgers outscored the Bandits 13-4 mostly due to the strong play of Vital who scored seven points within the first three minutes of the quarter, giving his team a 32-29 lead.
It should be noted that five Bandit players had four fouls as they trailed 88-72 heading into Target Score time.
The Bandits managed only two points while the Honey Badgers were on a 6-0 run pulling out a 98-74 win.
Vancouver’s next home game is Saturday, June 17 when the Saskatchewan Rattlers visit Langley Events Centre.
The Bandits return home June 17th (Saturday) facing the Saskatchewan Rattlers with a 7 pm tip-off.
Single game tickets for the fifth season of Bandits Basketball are available for purchase at this link.
A key highlight of Vancouver’s fifth CEBL campaign will be its hosting of Championship Weekend, which takes place between Friday, August 11 and Sunday, August 13.
An annual celebration of the highest level of Canadian professional basketball, Championship Weekend features a postseason format that combines three games of playoff basketball as part of a multi-day festival experience designed to celebrate the intersection of arts, culture and sport.
As hosts of Championship Weekend, the Bandits receive an automatic semifinal berth.