A SHORT-handed Albury-Wodonga Bandits outfit suffered a narrow defeat to the Canberra Gunners in Wagga yesterday but for coach Brad Chalmers it was an ideal opportunity “to blow the cobwebs out”.
The Gunners enjoyed a 68-64 win over a Bandits squad that was without frontcourt stars Alex Opacic and Momo Ntumba, while Nick Payne played limited minutes as he eases into the pre-season.
New forward Alex Bogart-King enjoyed a solid game with 21 points and US playmaker Jamar Briscoe added 19 points in his first game for the Bandits.
For Canberra, Garlon Green — brother of NBA slam dunk champion Gerald — led all scorers with 22 points, while fellow import Matt Staff and guard Daniel Joyce each chimed in with 13 points.
Despite the defeat, Chalmers was upbeat about what he had seen from his mostly young charges.
“Yeah it was OK, we only went down by four points,” Chalmers said.
“We got through our stuff and we got everyone some quality minutes, which was good.
“Everyone got a run except for Alex (Opacic) and Payney only played about 13 minutes.
“But it was a good hit-out and it was good for everyone to just blow the cobwebs out.
“Deuce (Briscoe) hadn’t played for six or seven months so it was great for him to get a run and all the young kids got a taste of the new offence.”
The Bandits next pre-season clash is against a Eurobasket select team at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre tomorrow night.
Tip-off is at 6.30pm and entry is by gold coin donation.