BlackJacks earn 1st win in franchise history with nail-biter against Bandits

The Ottawa BlackJacks are officially in the win column.

The expansion CEBL club defeated the Fraser Valley Bandits 78-76 to improve to 1-2 at the Summer Series on Thursday in St. Catharines, Ont.

But it wasn’t easy for the BlackJacks. The teams hit the first stoppage under four minutes remaining tied at 69, setting up a tight Elam Ending. After Ottawa stormed out to a five-point lead, the Bandits (2-1) responded with six of their own to move within one possession of the win. After the teams traded points once more, the game came down to next basket wins.

After a loose-ball foul called against the Bandits’ Junior Cadougan, BlackJacks guard Johnny Berhanemeskel nailed his first free throw to give Ottawa its first win.

Berhanemeskel led the BlackJacks with 19 points to go along with five rebounds. Canadian guard Thomas Scrubb added a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.

Guard Jahenns Manigat led Fraser Valley with 18 points, while captain Marcus Capers poured in 12 points and 11 boards.

Live coverage of the CEBL Summer Series continues Friday at 3 p.m. ET with the Edmonton Stingers (2-1) taking on the Niagara River Lions (1-2), followed by the Saskatchewan Rattlers (1-1) vs. the Guelph Nighthawks (2-1) at 5:30 p.m. ET.

CBC Sports has live coverage of the entire tournament, through to the final on Aug. 9.

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