SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. May 1, 2016–On Friday night, two-time defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks traveled to Belize City to face off against their opponents, Smart Belize Hurricanes, in game 1of the NEB Finals. This is the third straight finals appearance for San Pedro Tiger Sharks, and the first for Smart Belize Hurricanes, as both teams are shooting for the NEBL championship. As game 1 tipped off, Smart Belize Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead, ending the first quarter with an 18–16 advantage. At halftime, the Hurricanes still maintained a marginal 31–28 lead. In the third quarter, there were many lead changes and ties, until the Hurricanes extended the lead to 9 points at the end of the third quarter, to take a 63-54 advantage. In the middle of the fourth quarter, San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to cut the lead to three points, but the home squad then extended the lead down the stretch, to secure game 1 of the best-of-three finals, with a score of 93–84.
Smart Belize Hurricanes had 4 players scoring double digits. Former Tiger Sharks’ player, Darwin “Puppy” Leslie had the game-high with 25 pts, to go with 5 rebs, 2 steals and 2 assists; while the 2 time NEBL MVP, Farron Louriano tallied 24 pts, 9 rebs, 5 blocked shots and 1 steal. Leroy Louriano finished the night with his best offensive output, scoring 17 pts, 6 rebs and 2 assists; while sharp-shooter Jacob Leslie netted 17 pts, 6 rebs and 2 assists.
Meanwhile, San Pedro Tiger Sharks had 5 players scoring in double-digits. Andrew Ortiz, who came off the bench, tallied a monster double-double, scoring 20 pts, while ripping 16 rebs. Douglas Valley, who also came off the bench, finished the game with 17 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assists and 1 steal, including 5 shots from behind the arc. Tryone “Mission” Edwards tallied 13 pts, 4 rebs, 3 assists and 3 steals; while Raul Roches sank 12 pts, to go with 4 rebs, 3 steals and 2 assists. San Pedro Tiger Sharks’ all-around player, Gene Myvett also tallied a double-double with 10 pts and 11 rebs, to go with 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot.
Smart Belize Hurricanes had a 53-44 rebounding edge, while San Pedro Tiger Sharks had a 16-8 advantage on points off turnovers. The Hurricanes had a 12-6 advantage on fast break points, while the Tiger Sharks had a 41-7 edge on bench scoring. The Tiger Sharks’ bench was excellent in this game, as they scored almost half of their team’s points. The Hurricanes used their starters for most of the game, with their bench players tallying only 23 minutes for the entire game. Smart Belize Hurricanes shot 44% from the field, compared to San Pedro’s 43%, with each team sinking 6 three pointers. Smart Belize Hurricanes shot 37 free throws, hitting 62% of their attempts, compared to San Pedro Tiger Sharks’ 4 of 9 shooting from the charity stripe.
Game 2 of the NEBL finals will tip off on Saturday, May 7, at the San Pedro High School auditorium, out on the island. The two-time defending champions are in a must-win game, if they want to send this series to a third and decisive game. A win by Smart Belize Hurricanes will give them the NEBL 2016 Championship, their first championship in franchise history.
All games can be followed live on our website at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores, while the game is being played. The website also has all game scores, box scores, players’ and teams’ statistics, along with standings for the season.