The Calgary Surge held off the Vancouver Bandits with a 77-75 win in the Western Conference Finals on Friday night at the Langley Events Centre. 
Trailing by a point in target score time, and two points away from victory, Stef Smith sent the Calgary Surge to the CEBL championship with a game-winning three from the top of the arch. 
“It feels great, the city of Calgary is an amazing city, basketball is rising and I’m really happy for the organization,” Smith said after the game. “That shot is just a culmination of my hard work.” 
Smith finished with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. The three pointer marked Smith’s second straight game-winner in target score (and sixth overall of the season). The Ajax, Ont. native ended Edmonton’s season at the free throw line in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend. 
Nick Ward led the way for the Bandits, scoring 21 points and shooting better than 70 per cent from the field. 
Alex Campbell also chipped in with 18 points and five three pointers, two of which came in target score time. 
“I couldn’t be more proud of Alex, and I couldn’t have been more proud of the opportunity to coach him,” Vancouver head coach Kyle Julius said.
Calgary won the rebound battle 48-44 tonight, despite Vancouver entering the game averaging the most boards per game in the CEBL. The Surge also converted 17 Vancouver turnovers to 26 points. 
“The credit goes to our bigs,” Calgary head coach Nelson Terroba said. “We had good weak-side help, got rebounds when we needed to… The strength of this team is the sum of its parts.” 
The Surge started the game firing all cylinders, opening up on a 6-0 run and converting five of their first six shots. 
Although Ward ended the run with a contested floater, the Surge then scored seven consecutive points that was capped off with a Sean Miller-Moore layup in transition—which forced a Bandits timeout. Miller-Moore recorded 15 points on 46 per cent shooting on the night. 
Duane Notice drilled a three out of the timeout, and after trailing by as many as 12, a pair of threes inched the Bandits closer. Ward, who scored six of his 21 points in the first, stuffed a dunk over seven-footer Kylor Kelley which brought the hometown crowd alive to cap off a 7-0 Vancouver run. But the Surge took a 22-15 lead after one. 
Vancouver chipped into the lead in the second quarter with the long ball. The Bandits drilled three threes in the frame to bring Vancouver within one point of the lead. 
A Mason Bourcier three, though, sparked Calgary to a 5-0 run of their own to maintain the lead. Bourcier finished with 15 points, all of which came from beyond the arch, in 28 minutes off the bench.
The two teams then traded baskets to end the half. Despite being outrebounded 14-6 in the first, Vancouver, levelled the rebound battle in the second—hauling in four offensive boards, highlighted by a Ward put back with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Miller-Moore, however, raced down the court and got a runner to go at the buzzer to give Calgary a five-point lead at the break. 
In the third, after trailing by as many as 10 points, the Bandits picked up their defensive intensity. Vancouver held Calgary to three field goals on 15 attempts in the frame, and took their first lead of the game on a pair of Kur Jongkuch free throws. 
Alex Campbell then knocked down his first three of the game with less than one minute left to pull Vancouver ahead 53-51 after three. 
Both teams refused to give an inch in the fourth quarter, as there were eight lead changes in the final frame. Bourcier knocked down his fourth and fifth threes of the game midway through the quarter to keep Calgary in front, but Vancouver went on a 7-0 run that was capped off with a Campbell three.
In target score, Campbell continued his hot streak from deep, knocking down a pair of three pointers to pull Vancouver within three points of the win. 
Calgary, though, kept in contact. The Surge got a couple layups to drop to retake the lead, but a set play out of a Bandits timeout—which led to a wide-open Ward dunk in the paint—brought Vancouver back ahead 75-74. 
“Start to finish, I thought they were the aggressor,” Julius said. “We were playing catch-up. We had chances to win, but two turnovers late with chances to win was really frustrating.” 
On the final possession, after missing his first five three pointers of the game, Smith pulled up from the top of the arch and sealed the win. 
“I saw that [Nick] Ward’s heels were a bit inside the three point line, I was trying to attack him and give credit to him, he was moving his feet well,” Smith said. 
“I wanted to get into a hesitation pull up, and as soon as I rose up, I knew he was too far to contest.” 
With the win, Calgary moves on to face the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the CEBL championship game on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.