CEBL·CEBL ROUNDUP

Bandits top Stingers in regular season finale, keep quarter-final bye hopes alive

The Fraser Valley Bandits defeated the visiting Edmonton Stingers 86-80 in a critical game for playoff positioning as the Canadian Elite Basketball League's 2022 regular season draws to a close on Monday.

Marek Klassen leads Fraser Valley with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists.

Fraser Valley Bandits guard Marek Klassen (3) handles the ball during an 86-80 win over the Edmonton Stingers on Saturday. (@CEBLeague/Twitter)

The Fraser Valley Bandits defeated the visiting Edmonton Stingers 86-80 in a critical game for playoff positioning as the Canadian Elite Basketball League's 2022 regular season draws to a close on Monday.

With so much up in the air in the final weekend of the CEBL season, the last game of the regular season for both the Stingers and Bandits was a pivotal one.

Fraser Valley entered the game with the chance to finish as high as second place or as low as sixth, whereas Edmonton had the opportunity to climb as high as third or fall as low as seventh.

After Saturday's result, the Bandits' (12-8) floor is fourth and the Stingers (10-10) are locked into playing the Saskatchewan Rattlers on the road in a play-in game on Thursday.

The logjam in the middle of the standings will be sorted out on Sunday afternoon, when the Scarborough Shooting Stars (11-8) take on the Newfoundland Growlers (6-13) at 12:00 p.m. ET, and the Hamilton Honey Badgers (14-5) face the Niagara River Lions (12-7) at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Both games can be seen live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem and the free CBC Sports app.

See-saw battle

The Bandits started hot, going up by as much as 11 in the first quarter. But the Stingers battled back to tie the game halfway through the second frame, taking the lead into the half at 44-40.

The see-saw tipped all the way to Edmonton's side in the third quarter when they stretched the lead to 11 themselves.

Fraser Valley, however, clawed their way back to even only two minutes into the fourth quarter, and took a four-point lead into the Elam Ending.

The home team never trailed the rest of the way, closing the game out on a Brandon Gilbeck free throw.

Bandits' Marek Klassen posted team-highs of 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Malcolm Duvivier added 18 points off the bench, going 4-for-6 beyond the arc.

Stingers guard Adika Peter-Mcneilly led Edmonton with 15 points while Marlon Johnson had team-hights of 13 rebounds and four assists.

Champs in unfamiliar territory

In their first season without three-time MVP and now Los Angeles Clipper Xavier Moon, Edmonton has their work cut out for them to get back to the level they had played at consistently since the CEBL's inception.

The two-time defending champion Stingers faced more adversity in 2022 than in any of their first three years in the league, losing more games this year alone than in the last three campaigns combined (32-8 record from 2019 to 2021).

Edmonton will look to regroup from the loss and start their title defence on Thursday. With an identical 5-5 record at home and on the road, the Stingers will travel to the SaskTel Centre on Thursday.

With a 6-4 record at home, Fraser Valley will have to wait for Sunday's results to find out which team they will host and whether they'll play on Thursday in a play-in game or Sunday, August 7, in a quarter-final game.

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