Niagara Falls – The Niagara River Lions (3-2) caught fire in the third quarter, dropping 37 points en-route to a convincing 103-82 victory over the Fraser Valley Bandits (4-1) at the Meridian Centre on Thursday evening.
The River Lions used a 20-2 spurt near the start of the third frame to pull away from the Bandits, and never relinquished the lead after that. Despite missing three of its best players in Kassius Robertson, Trae Bell-Haynes and Phil Scrubb, Niagara’s hustle and energy were the difference in the win.
Niagara used Fraser Valley’s aggressive and fast-paced play style to its advantage, dominating the Bandits 32-4 in points off turnovers and 26-11 in fast-break points. Every time a loose ball fell to the floor, it seemed like a River Lions player was off and running towards the basket for an easy hoop.
“I think that’s who we are. We’re an aggressive defensive team,” said River Lions’ head coach Victor Raso after the game. “It’s our strength, it was one of our keys to get out and run this game.”
Xavier Sneed led the way for Niagara with 20 points, but he was far from the only River Lion to make an impact.
Jaylen Babb-Harrison provided instant offense with 19 points, Javin DeLaurier played his best game as a pro, putting up an 18-point, 17-rebound double-double, and Guillaume Payen-Boucard chipped in across the board with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block.
Fraser Valley will look to regain its form as the team continues its Ontario road trip, facing the Ottawa BlackJacks on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Niagara will look to keep up its winning ways on Sunday as the River Lions take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
All CEBL games will be available for live streaming on the CEBL’s new OTT streaming service [http://../Downloads/plus.cebl.ca]CEBL+, cbcsports.ca, the free CBC Gem streaming service, the CBC Sports App for iOS and android devices, and on Twitch.