Fraser Valley Bandits guard Jahenns Manigat attacks the rim during Sunday’s game against Niagara. (CEBL photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits guard Jahenns Manigat attacks the rim during Sunday’s game against Niagara. (CEBL photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

A historic defensive performance by the Fraser Valley Bandits on Sunday has advanced the club to the playoff round of the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Summer Series.

The Bandits held the Niagara River Lions to a CEBL-record 57 points, en route to an 70-57 win.

The River Lions shot just 28 per cent from the field and trailed for the majority of the game.

Fraser Valley was led offensively by guard Junior Cadougan, who collected 16 points, five assists and three rebounds. Cadougan helped put the game away in the third quarter, with two big three pointers near the end of the third.

Cadougan said that what some of the Bandits lack in size they make up for in tenacity, especially on defence.

“We take pride in our defence,” he said. “We’re a little bit smaller so we have to rebound well and then come down and execute and don’t lose possessions.”

The Bandits also had solid games from Malcolm Duvivier (12 points and seven rebounds) and Ola Ashaolu (11 points and three boards). Guard Marcus Capers added 10 rebounds. General manager and head coach Kyle Julius said his guards played big on Sunday.

“Our guards rebounded really well today and I was really happy with them,” he said. “We also did a good job of making their lower percentage shooters shoot. That turned into loose balls and rebounds, which our guards really fought for.”

The win comes off the news this morning that the Bandits released forward Cameron Forte. The club announced in a press release that Forte, who was the CEBL’s leading scorer, is pursuing another playing opportunity.

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

Cadougan said Forte’s departure will not hurt the Bandits.

“I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “We’ve got guys ready to go and ready to battle. I don’t think you need size to rebound, you just need guys that want to get the ball.”

Julius said Forte informed the Bandits of his decision last night and he also feels the team will be able to move on without Forte.

“He was struggling a bit to fit in with our offence the last few games,” he said. “I want the fans to know that we have a plan and that all the guys that are here want to be here. Right now we’ve got 10 guys who really care and really want to be here. Our actual style of play will not change without Cam.”

He said he thinks Ashaolu will be able to provide the size that now disappears with Forte’s departure.

The Bandits now sit at 3-2 with one game remaining in the round robin. Julius said he’s satisfied with the way his team has played thus far.

“I really like our guys as human beings a lot,” he said. “I just really like this group. I think they play as hard as they can Even in our two losses, we fought back from big deficits and we haven’t been blown out in this tournament. They’ve played the game the right way and have done their best so far.”

The Bandits conclude the round robin on Wednesday against the Guelph Nighthawks (3-1). That game tips off at 2 p.m.

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