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Gibson dazzles in final frame as Bandits bounce back with victory over Growlers | CBC Sports

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Shane Gibson scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half as the Fraser Valley Bandits pulled out an 88-81 win over the Newfoundland Growlers on Tuesday in St. John’s, N.L.

Fraser Valley (9-4), which was again missing starter Thomas Kennedy, who is competing for Canada’s under-23 team at GLOBL JAM, did not play to their usual level against Newfoundland (1-11) early in the game.

An adjustment or two ended up doing the trick in the second half as the Bandits pulled away behind Gibson’s big night.

“We just started getting out into transition and really locking in on defence. In the first half, we were playing more of a half-court game and it was going to their type of game,” Bandits guard Malcolm Duvivier said post-game.

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“When we got out into transition, it opened up the floor — we kept attacking and it started going our way.”

Newfoundland, coming off its first win of the season, turned an early 7-2 deficit into an 11-7 lead following a 9-0 run capped off by a Brandon Sampson three-pointer in the opening frame.

Never surrendering the lead again in the quarter, the Growlers went into the second up 24-18, where a trend of trading runs commenced.

Following a 5-0 run to start the frame, Fraser Valley lost its momentum once more, as Newfoundland answered with a 10-2 run to go up nine by the 5:20 mark.

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The Bandits, working to avoid letting the game get out of hand, outscored the Growlers 14-6 to go into halftime down 40-39.

 In the third, Fraser Valley pulled it together and got to work.

Gradually building up to a four-point lead by the midway mark, Gibson hit three of eight points in the frame to push the Bandits lead to seven, where they held on to close the frame up 67-60.

The final frame turned into another shining moment for Gibson, as he scored his team’s first seven points to hold off a Growlers comeback effort.

Down 78-73 in the Elam Ending, Sampson made a layup to bring the game to within three. A James Karnik layup restored Fraser Valley’s five-point lead, but another Gibson three put the Growlers out of reach. Gibson scored the Bandits’ final eight points, bringing him to 15 for the quarter and sealing the win on a tough contested layup.

Duvivier added 17 off the bench, with Karnik scoring 18 in the victory.

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Sampson and guard Blake Francis led the way for the Growlers with 21 and 22 points, respectively.

Fraser Valley, which snapped a two-game skid, will next face the Ottawa BlackJacks and former guard Kadre Gray on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The team released Gray on Saturday, and the Toronto native signed with Ottawa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Growlers will look to pick up a second consecutive victory over the Saskatchewan Rattlers when the two teams meet again on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

All games can be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Sports App, and CBC Gem.

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