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Vancouver Bandits fall in close game, despite loud cheer squad

4,500 students from 31 Lower Mainland schools cheer on pro-basketball team in Langley

At least 4,500 students packed the seats of Langley Events Centre, their screams, cheers, and bangs seemed to fuel members of B.C.’s professional basketball team as they hosted Winnipeg on home court earlier this week.

It’s not often children are taken on a field trip, and encouraged to make as much noise as possible, but that’s exactly what happened Tuesday, when 31 schools attended the Vancouver Bandits School Day Game.

School shoutouts from PA announcer Steven James and game day host Chris Wiggins helped fuel the excitement, and ultimately the momentum and volume, as they called on visiting schools – one at a time and collectively – to make noise and motivate the Bandits to victory.

To add to the rambunctious atmosphere, there were drumline performances – first outside then throughout the game – that added to the hype and excitement, as Clayburn Middle and Robert Bateman Secondary’s music groups endeavoured to be heard.

Despite the loud – sometimes close to deafening noises from all the young supporters – the Vancouver Bandits could not pull out a victory at home.

The Bandits fell 106-103 to Winnipeg, the Sea Bears taking the close game after an offensive foul in the final moments by the Bandits sent on a Winnipeg players to the free-throw line to score the winning points.

In addition to students attending from numerous Langley elementary, middle, and secondary schools, hundreds also bussed in from Surrey, Abbotsford, Mission, and Vancouver.

Team president Dylan Kular was thrilled to have a big, young audience in the stands cheering for year two.

“It is a special occasion when you have the opportunity to work with several school districts from across the Lower Mainland to welcome thousands of students to the home of Bandits basketball here at Langley Events Centre,” Kular told the Langley Advance Times.

“From the constant cheers throughout the game, to the passion of the youth, it means a lot to our organization to be able to showcase the sport of professional basketball in a manner that is accessible and helps instill positive values such as respect and teamwork,” he added.

“The feedback has already been super positive and we are excited to create an even bigger platform for schools to be a part of in 2024,” Kular promised.

In the meantime, this was the expansion Sea Bears (3-1) second win in as many tries against Vancouver (1-3), as they won the Canadian Elite Basketball League season-opener for both teams last month, 90-85, in Winnipeg.

RELATED: Vancouver Bandits drop season opener

Bandits are hitting the road to take on the Brampton Honey Badgers for this first time this season. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT today (Friday).

It’s the first of three away games.

The Bandits enter today looking to rebound from Tuesday’s School Day Game at home, and the close loss to Winnipeg.

This afternoon marks the first of three road trip games for the Bandits., who will travel to Niagara next for an afternoon game Saturday against the River Lions. Then, they visiting Calgary on Wednesday evening before returning home to play Saskatchewan Rattlers on Saturday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at Langley Events Centre.

Single game tickets for the fifth season of Bandits Basketball are available for purchase online.

RELATED: Vancouver Bandits Play Day draws 30 teams from 13 schools in Aldergrove and Langley


Former team leader is back

In the meantime, the Bandits announced today (Friday) that the club is bringing back fan favourite and 2020 all-CEBL second team guard Jahenns Manigat for his second season with British Columbia’s professional basketball team.

Manigat will make his debut tonight when the Bandits take on Brampton.

The former Creighton Blue Jay suited up in six regular season games for the Bandits at the Summer Series in 2020 and led by example on both ends of the floor. A 6-foot-2 guard, Manigat led the team in minutes played, three-pointers made, as well as three-point shooting percentage – nailing 46.3 per cent of his tries on just shy of seven attempts per game. His 14.7 points per game led all Bandits who appeared in every regular season game at the Summer Series.

A native of Ottawa, Ont., Manigat first established himself as a marksman during his renowned four-year career at Creighton University. He started his final 121 games as a Bluejay and led Creighton in charges taken during each of his four seasons between 2010-14. Manigat currently sits sixth all-time at Creighton with 206 three-pointers.

“I am excited to be back with the Bandits and I am looking forward to the grind it takes to build a championship team. Let’s get to work,” Manigat said.


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About the Author: Langley Advance Times Staff

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