The playoff race just got a whole lot tighter.
One game separates third place from seventh place after the visiting Guelph Nighthawks left Langley Events Centre with an 87-79 win over the Fraser Valley Bandits on Friday night (July 15) in Canadian Elite Basketball League action.
The Bandits currently hold down third place at 9-7 with Guelph improved to 8-8, tied for sixth place. Teams ranked fifth through eighth place will make the CEBL play-in round, which precedes the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Just five games ago Fraser Valley was 8-2 and fighting for a share of top spot but the team has now lost three games in a row.
“My concern is we have to put ourselves in position to win games and finish the games. We were doing that early in the season, and of late, we have not been able to close the games like we need to,” said Bandits head coach Mike Taylor.
Through the first three quarters, the Bandits led for all but 2:23 of the 30 minutes but Ahmed Hill hit a three-pointer for Guelph in the fourth quarter to put his team up 78-77 just ahead of the Elam Ending and the Nighthawks then dominated, outscoring Fraser Valley 9-2.
Friday’s game marked the 2022 debuts of Brandon Gilbeck and Jabs Newby as well as the return of Thomas Kennedy, who was away playing for Canada at the GLOBL Jam event in Toronto.
Shane Gibson led Fraser Valley with 16 points while Marek Klassen and Alex Campbell each had 15 and James Karnik scored 12. Kennedy finished with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
READ ALSO: VIDEO: Montreal Alliance snap losing streak at Fraser Valley Bandits expense
At 9-7 and with four games to play, the Bandits are still in a great position to earn a spot in the post-season, but they have their sights set higher as first place receives a bye straight to the Final Four while the second and third seeds get to avoid the play-in game and go straight to the quarterfinals.
READ ALSO: VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits down Growlers
Fraser Valley will look to rebound when it hosts the Ottawa BlackJacks this Sunday, July 17 for its first ever “Star Wars Game.” Tip-off is at 1 p.m.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.