Sports — 05 March 2010 — by Bernard Wagner
Belize’s U-12 and U-15 male National basketball teams arrived back in Belize last week Sunday, following an enormously successful showing in the 2010 U-12 and U-15 Central American Basketball Championships held in Guatemala City. The contingent, which was led by Belize Basketball Federation (BBF) President Paul Thompson, along with Head Coaches Brads Neal and Matthew Smiling, as well as a number of parents, understandably were ecstatic over the accomplishments made by the two teams.
  
The tournament got under way last week Friday, with all games being played in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. According to a Hoops News insider, both the U-12 and U-15 teams were able to get out of the gates quickly, and in runaway fashion won handily over Guatemala B teams by the final scores of 44-12 and 50-22, respectively. On Saturday, the kids took aim at regional powerhouse El Salvador, and made a good showing of themselves; and if not for poor second quarter scoring by both teams, which saw them make a combined 4 pts, we probably would have been hoisting gold medals instead. Nevertheless, both teams rebounded in the third and fourth quarters, which made things very interesting coming down the stretch. However, some key missed free throws here and there, and the energy expended in chasing, made the task much more difficult for the kids, and as a result both teams fell by the scores of 29-26 and 49-45, respectively. Sidney Bradley, Kevon Evans and Zak Usher led the U-12 team with 6 pts each; while for the U-15 it was Kyle Middleton leading the way with 9 pts, followed by Wincy Lopez with 8 pts and Devin Bladen with 7 pts. In the third and final games played against Guatemala A teams, Belize won by the scores of 32-30 and 51-31, to capture the silver medals.
   
From Hoops News desk, we congratulate the players, their parents, the coaches and organizers who made the trip possible. 
 
SENIOR, U-19 AND FEMALE BASKETBALL RETURN
TO THE CITY CENTER TONIGHT
 
Senior and U-19 male basketball, as well as Female basketball make a long-awaited return to the Belize City Center tonight, courtesy of the Belize District Basketball Association (BDBA), in cooperation with Corporate Sponsor – Digicell. The newly formed BDBA firstly must be commended for the hard work that they have put into organizing the three tournaments, which, by all indications, promise to be extremely entertaining as well as competitive. Seven teams have signed up for the Senior men’s, namely the UB Black Jaguars, Brothers Habet Berger Boys, Belize Bank Bulldogs, San Pedro Tigersharks, Ebony Lake, BNE Oilers, and Jamboree. In the male U-19 category there are eight clubs, namely Belize Bank Bulldogs, Hold-On Smart, Truckers, Orange Walk Running Rebels, Ferrari, Ghetto Ballers, Boom Celtics, and Team Castillo. Meanwhile, in the Female category there are currently three strong teams, which include perennial powerhouses Maria Chang and Sparks, and new entrée Streaks.
  
The opening ceremonies for the tournament are scheduled for 7:00 p.m., with former UCLA basketball star, Belizean Nigel Miguel delivering the keynote address. Tip-off should be right around 7:30 p.m. with a superb match-up in the U-19 category, as Belize Bank Bulldogs take to the court against Hold-On Smart. Meanwhile, in Men’s Senior, in prime time it will be the very talented and well coached UB Black Jaguars trying to take a bite out of the young and talented Brothers Habet Berger Boys. On Sunday, the action resumes at 3:00 p.m. with the opening Female game, which puts Lady Sparks against Maria Chang Girls; and then in an evening matinee affair it will be a rematch of the 2007 semipro championship, as the San Pedro Tigersharks take aim at the Belize Bank Bulldogs.
  
Senior basketball, which was last played three years ago, was once the highest level of basketball in the country. Unfortunately, though it had to take the backseat to semipro basketball in the early nineties, and while it remained organized during that period, it was never able to do a complete make-over of itself, and as a result lost its appeal from both players as well as basketball fans, and eventually became defunct. So, while we can relatively identify some of the causes which led to the demise of senior basketball, and in so doing draw and make some plausible assertions, this is not the case with U-19 basketball, which, in contrast to senior ball, was always a coveted commodity by both amateur and semipro supporters. This was so due to the fact that U-19 basketball was always considered as the cradle for the top basketball prospects in the country. And so, semipro teams and basketball organizers on a whole would go to great lengths to protect their precious commodity. But those are other stories, and ones that we will engage you with somewhere down the road. In the interim, from Hoops News perspective, it is a welcome sight to see Senior, U-19 and Female basketball back at the City Center, and in so doing taking their rightful place in Belize’s basketball fraternity.
 
SAN IGNACIO WINS TWO FRIENDLIES FROM BULLDOGS
 
Belize Bank Bulldogs U-15 and U-19 teams dropped two on the road this past weekend, as they travelled west to San Ignacio to participate in the Sacred Heart College School Fair and Basketball extravaganza. The event, which was organized by the San Ignacio & Santa Elena Basketball Association (SSBA), saw the U-15 Bulldogs, who were a bit short-handed (a number of their players were in Guatemala), falling to the San Ignacio selection by the final score of 50-45. Jimmy Carillo and Dylon Guerra led San Ignacio with 11 pts each, while for the Bulldogs it was Kadeem Olivera with 14 pts, followed by Clency Lopez with 10 pts. Meanwhile, in the U-19 game, San Ignacio again came away with the 75-72 win, behind Johan Bermudez 16 pts and Elvis Usher 13 pts. For the Bulldogs, it was Kaschief Thomas totaling 15 pts, followed by Matthew Young 14 pts. Both teams have committed to a rematch to be played sometime in Belize City.

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