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Bandits Lose to Stingers – SRO Crowd at Abby Cenrte- First Home Loss of the Season (VIDEO)

Abbotsford (Matthew Winick) – The raucous Abbotsford crowd witnessed their Fraser Valley Bandits (5-4) lose at home for the first time all year as they fell to the Edmonton Stingers (9-1) by a score of 87-79 on Sunday afternoon.Fraser Valley led 2-0 to begin the game, but never regained the lead as Edmonton scored the next 11 points. However, after being down by as much as 21 points in the second half, the Bandits rallied to cut the deficit to just three in the Elam Ending. When push came to shove though, the Stingers created enough of a cushion over the course of the game to come away with the victory.

The name of the game for Edmonton was field goal percentages on both ends of the floor. The Stingers were shooting the ball well all night, going 34-69 (49%), while also locking down defensively, forcing the Bandits to a poor 29-67 (43%) performance. Even though head coach Jermaine Small was not with the team due to personal reasons, Edmonton looked like it didn’t skip a beat.

“We’re always about defense. We weathered a couple serious blows down the stretch there… and our defense pulled through,” said the Stingers’ acting head coach George Hoyt after the game, “We controlled the rest of the game from that point forward.”

The scoring was balanced all night for the Stingers, with four players reaching double-digit point totals. None of those performances were surprising either – as Xavier Moon, Jordan Baker, Marlon Johnson and Mathieu Kamba are the team’s four leading scorers on the season.

Despite that, Edmonton didn’t get its greatest game out of Moon. The potential three-time CEBL Player of the Year scored just 12 points on only 6-14 from the field, adding only three assists with five turnovers. For Moon, it says a lot about his ability to fight through an off-game and still provide valuable minutes in a winning effort for his team.

“That’s why it’s a team sport, I’ve got other guys I can count on even when it’s not my greatest night,” said Moon, “We knew they were going to make a run come Elam time, we sustained the run and came out with a win.”

The loss for the Bandits was their second straight, and now puts them a full game behind the Niagara River Lions for third place in the league standings. It was a sleepy start for Fraser Valley, with the team not playing with the same energy and confidence that fans are used to seeing until the fourth quarter, when it was inevitably too late.

“(In the fourth quarter we played) like who we are, who we’re supposed to be. Our identity, the way we’re supposed to play, the way we practice, the type of players that we have, all of that showed up in the fourth quarter,” said Bandits’ head coach David Singleton, “It doesn’t even matter, it’s just too little, too late. It’s been consistently inconsistent with the effort.”

Shaquille Keith, Kenny Manigault and Brandon Gilbeck all tied for the team lead with 15 points, but none of them made a three-pointer, leaving the paint clogged as the game progressed. Although the Bandits as a group accomplished the difficult task of slowing down Moon, their inability to capitalize offensively was a big reason for the loss.

Neither of these squads will have to wait long to see each other again, as the Stingers and Bandits will play game two of a four game regular season mini-series on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. pt at the Abbotsford Centre.

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