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In the closest Elam Ending to date, the expansion Ottawa BlackJacks got their first win, beating the undefeated Fraser Valley Bandits 78-76. 

Both teams were tied going into Elam Time. To start off the scoring, Ottawa’s Olivier Hanlan came across a screen and hit a 3 pointer. Fraser Valley’s Cam Forte missed a layup on the other end, Johnny Berhanemeskel grabbed the rebound and scored a layup. 

The teams traded some offensive possessions until Malcolm Duvivier hit two free throws. Marcus Capers intercepted a bad pass from Berhanemeskel and scored a layup, cutting the lead to one point. Capers then had another layup, giving Fraser Valley the lead 

Hanlan scored a layup on the other end while getting fouled by Capers. After hitting the free throw, the BlackJacks were one bucket away from winning. The Bandits’ Duvivier was then fouled, splitting the free throws. 

After a missed Cam Forte layup, Berhanemeskel was fouled bringing the ball down. He got free throws, hitting the first one to ice the game. 

The Player of the Game was given to Thomas Scrubb for his 12 point and 10 rebound double-double. His brother Phil has left the team to go play with the French club Limoges. They replaced him with Carleton Raven’s Lloyd Pandi, the U Sports Rookie of the Year. He had eight points, six rebounds and three assists.   

Hanlan and Berhanemeskel stepped up with the loss of Scrubb, hitting timely shots and giving the BlackJacks a scoring boost. 

For the Bandits, the self proclaimed best player in the league shot a horrendous 7-20 from the field. Cameron Forte had 15 points and six rebounds. Ottawa did a good job of forcing him to his less-dominant hand. 

They also did that with Junior Cadougan, who only had seven shots thanks to Thomas Scrubb’s defence.  

Now both teams are in three-way ties. Ottawa is in a tie for last place with Hamilton and Niagara, while Fraser Valley is in a tie for first with Edmonton and Guelph. 

Both teams will play on Sunday. The Ottawa BlackJacks will take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers at 1:30 p.m while the Fraser Valley Bandits face the Niagara River Lions at 4:00 p.m.

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