Sports — 07 March 2014 — by Joaquin David Magana

Corozal Heat grab their first home victory!!!

Last Friday night at the Corozal Civic Center, the Corozal Heats (1-3) whipped the Belmopan Point Bandits (2-2) with a score of 67-54 and secured their first win of the season in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament. The first quarter was well played by both teams, with very few turnovers committed by either side. As a result, the lead was volleyed from one team to the other. At the end of the first quarter, Belmopan was up 17-14.

The teams’ evident scoring drives made the second quarter very interesting. Corozal had the upper hand in regards to their three-point shooting which was, by far, much better than Belmopan’s; however, Corozal had many more turnovers. Unfortunately for Belmopan, the Bandits failed to capitalize on those turnovers. By the end of the second quarter, the Corozal Heats had taken the lead, 35-27.

The third quarter saw the Heats trample the Point Bandits, as their lead grew to 12 points, mainly through the hands of Jason Daly and Kenroy Roca. Roca was on fire, sinking 4 three-pointers from 6 attempts. The third quarter ended 53-41 in favor of Corozal.

During the fourth quarter, the Belmopan team began to succumb to the pressure applied by the Heats, to the extent that they found themselves down by a whopping 17 points. At this point, seeing a potential massacre, Coach Allen called a time-out. This intervention put the game on pause, and gave the Belmopan team a breather and the opportunity to regroup. Whatever he told them seemed to have worked, because the Bandits returned with a 12-0 run, to cut the lead to 5 points. However, their newfound gusto was short-lived. The Bandits’ game again fell into a hole when Adam Carswell and Stephen Williams got technical fouls for arguing with the referees. At this point, Corozal could have killed the Bandits if they had chosen their best free throw shooter for these 4 give-aways. Instead, they sent Geovanie Lennon, who only hit once, giving Corozal a lead of 6. Nevertheless, this did not slow them down. Corozal got the ball and hit a two-point conversion, which practically sealed the win for the Heats. This was the point of no return for the Point Bandits; they were unable to recover from the blow.

It is worth mentioning that the Corozal fans were a particularly enthusiastic crowd, rallying behind their team throughout the game. They may well have been the most vocal and loudest in the league this past weekend!

The Bandits did well in terms of turnovers on this night; averaging 24 per game prior to this match, they were able to cut it down to 10. They lost this battle because they failed to capitalize on free throws (33%) and three-point shooting (6%). Belmopan has been good at scoring on their home court, where they have averaged 77 points in two games. They have not done so well as visitors, where they average 55 points – a 20-point difference. Belmopan’s inconsistency has led some to wonder about their ability to make it to the playoffs. They seem to forget that they have talented players who probably only need minor guidance to be successful. They lost the game to Corozal even before the game was over because of their lack of confidence in themselves. Their frustration could be seen in the way they played on the court. Players should always remember to be professional, and not to try to seek a scapegoat for poor performance. Blaming calls, the shot clock or the coach, instead of objectively examining the play, is not only unproductive but detrimental to the team’s morale! It is a privilege to be playing in the league; if players would take a few moments to consider this and start enjoying the game, no doubt future wins will be on the road…

Corozal Heats were led by Jason Daly with 16 pts 5 assists, Geovanie Lennon 12 pts 7 rebs, Kenroy Roca 12 pts 1 blk, Alton Herrera 10 pts, and Sheldon Williams 8 pts 1 blk. In a losing effort, Adam Carswell had double-doubles 13 pts 10 rebs, Christian Rodiguez 12 pts 8 rebs, and Jamal Harris 8 pts.

This weekend we will see Corozal battling in Dangriga on Saturday night at 8:00. And on that same night, same time, Belmopan will host San Pedro.

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