If one thing is for certain, it’s that the Saskatchewan Rattlers and Fraser Valley Bandits are two of the most physically taxing teams in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
For a full four quarters each team laid it all out on the line, and the result was the most exciting Elam Ending finish to a CEBL game thus far at the Summer Series.
The Bandits prevailed 87-77, but each team took its turn with the lead, and traded jabs throughout the entirety of the game.
Saskatchewan dealt the opening blow and led 49-38 at the half thanks to an intense defensive effort that left the Bandits searching for answers early.
The Bandits began to hit their stride in the third quarter thanks to their depth. With guards Marek Klassen and Malcolm Duvivier in foul trouble, Jabs Newby came into the game and provided important minutes. Despite not recording a single stat besides one missed field goal, Newby’s ability to clog the passing lanes proved vital over the course of the 10 minutes that he played as he finished with a plus-9 rating in the plus-minus category.
“We just had to change the way that we were playing. They started off strong and our main focus was to play harder on defence,” Newby said. “It’s just a mentality as a pro basketball player – you always have to stay ready. If you’re playing 30 minutes or you’re playing 30 seconds you always got to stay ready.”
The Bandits outscored the Rattlers 49-28 in the second half, thanks largely to another monster performance from Cameron Forte, who followed up his previous 28-point, 10 rebound outing, with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six steals.
“We brought those types of players in here as a core,” Bandits head coach and general manager Kyle Julius said. “I thought we got outworked in the first half, so we talked about that. I thought they won the energy game in the first half and I thought we won it in the second and then we made some big shots. I cannot say enough about Marek and Jabs as they were an absolute sparkplug.”
Marcus Capers stepped to the line and calmly hit each of his three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt to end the game.
Fraser Valley’s next tilt is against Ottawa on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT)
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