In this battle between two teams each having relocated to different cities; Brampton having moved from Hamilton and Vancouver having moved from Fraser Valley, the Honey Badgers looked to extend their three game win streak, while the Bandits were seeking to pick up their second win of the season.
The scoring opened up with a Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. rebound putback in the paint, a place Tilmon Jr. is all too familiar with on a nightly basis. It was a rather quiet outing for Tilmon Jr., however, in comparison to his past dominant performances, netting just six points to go along with five rebounds in the contest. Offence was hard to come by in an equally sloppy first half of the quarter by both teams. Vancouver found a bit of a groove as the turnovers began to pile up for the Honey Badgers, which the Bandits took full advantage of. Creating transition run out opportunities, hitting some three-balls and feeding big man Nick Ward on the interior allowed the Bandits to take a six point 25-19 lead into the second quarter.
The Honey Badgers wouldn’t trail for long, as the home team opened the second frame on an eight to two run to tie the game at 27 apiece. It was the Honey Badgers that were now creating transition opportunities off of turnovers, and a back and forth scoring battle ensued. The Bandits’ offense was carried majorly by newly acquired guard MJ Walker, leading the way with 19 of his team high 26 points coming within the first half. Brampton’s Christian Vital continued his MVP ways, scoring 10 of his game high 27 points in the period. His chippy and aggressive energy on the defensive side saw him add in six rebounds, and tie his own franchise high six steals in the contest. Outscoring the Bandits 25-17 in the quarter, the Honey Badgers boasted a 44-42 lead entering halftime.
The third quarter was a closely contested one, but once again scoring wasn’t easy to come by as both squads shot the ball poorly. A lot of missed shot opportunities in the paint and from beyond the arc plagued the two teams for the first half of the quarter, but things slowly picked up and a deep Vital trey ball at the buzzer extended Brampton’s lead to six, up 65-59 as the quarter concluded.
The scoring woes continued for Vancouver in the fourth frame, putting up just 13 points to the Honey Badgers’ 23 before heading into the Target score ending. With a target score of 97, it was a quick finish for Brampton, scoring 10 points to Vancouver’s two, with a Koby McEwan layup off of a Prince Oduro defensive rebound to seal the 98-74 Honey Badgers win.
Ward finished as the second leading scorer for Vancouver with 21 points and six rebounds off the bench. Ward and Walker were the only Bandits to score in double figures in the contest. Jahenns Manigat was the lead facilitator off the bench with a team high five assists, along with eight points and three steals. Forward Giorgi Benzhanishvili grabbed a team high 11 rebounds for the Bandits
Honey Badgers veteran Nick Wiggins made his scoring impact netting his first double digit scoring game of the season with 13 points, eight of which came within the first half.
“I just got into a good rhythm on the floor… just trying to find a rhythm out there” said Wiggins post game of his performance on the night. “It’s been tough the first few games, you know, a new team, new guys. My first time playing with [Vital]… just trying to do what I can to help the team, definitely felt some extra juice out there tonight”.
Oduro had a solid performance off of the bench with 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double double. Vital’s backcourt mate McEwan continues to thrive in his starting role as he contributed 20 points and a team high eight assists. The former CEBL Sixth Man of the Year has scored a combined 70 points during the Honey Badgers’ four game win streak.
The Honey Badgers get some days of rest before looking for the series sweep of the Western Conference leading Winnipeg Sea Bears in Winnipeg on June 15th. The Bandits, on the other hand, get no days off as they travel to Niagara to take on the 2-3 Niagara River Lions on June 10th.
Brampton Honey Badgers vs. the Vancouver Bandits boxscore click HERE.