Abbotsford (Matthew Winick) – The Fraser Valley Bandits (5-2) had seven players score at least eight points as they took down the Guelph Nighthawks (1-5) by a score of 92-71 on Wednesday night in Abbotsford ( Abbotsford Centre) in front of fans for the first time since 2019.
All five scorers, plus key reserves Malcolm Duvivier and Ryan Ejim made large contributions to the scoreboard for Fraser Valley. The balanced scoring effort has been a theme all season for the Bandits, as the team has only one player averaging over 12 points per game, but nine guys pitching in at least seven points a night.
“I thought everybody contributed, played their role well and I thought it was a team win,” said Fraser Valley head coach David Singleton after the game, “I was very happy with it, we shared the ball very well today.”
While Duviver led the Bandits in scoring with 20 points on a hyper-efficient 7-10 from the field, it was Kenny Manigault who had the most impressive stat line. The import forward dropped 14 points to go along with five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Manigault’s all-around play has been a major factor for Fraser Valley’s strong start.
Brandon Gilbeck was also his usual terror around the basket, setting a new season-high with six blocks on the night. Gilbeck continues to dominate the CEBL in the blocked shot category, even though he’s only seventh on his own team in minutes per game.
Unlike Fraser Valley, Guelph has been more dependent on its stars to score in order to stay in games. Unfortunately, the team’s three leading scorers couldn’t provide the offensive punch needed to compete with the Bandits.
Second-leading scorer Justin Jackson left the game three minutes into the action, while Cat Barber and Ahmed Hill combined for just 26 points on inefficient 11-35 shooting from the field.
“The effort’s there, we just have to clean up some things and I think we ran out of steam,” said Nighthawks’ head coach Charles Kissi, “On to the next one.”
There certainly were some positive takeaways for Guelph, with core pieces stepping up and playing strong games. Guard Kimbal Mackenzie set a season-high mark with 14 points, while big man Chad Brown continued his torrid pace after he joined his squad later into the season, putting up 16 points and seven rebounds.
Up next for the Nighthawks is a trip to Saskatoon to take on the winless Saskatchewan Rattlers on Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. local time. After a brutal stretch of opponents to start the season, Guelph will look to get its momentum going.
On the other side, Fraser Valley can now sit back and relax with over an entire week off before its next game. The Bandits aren’t back in action until Friday, July 23rd at 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET against the 6-1 Hamilton Honey Badgers.
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.