SAN IGNACIO, Sat. Dec. 16, 2017–Stann Creek Ecumenical boys and Delille Academy girls both emerged as champions in the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) Basketball Championships, sponsored by SOL Belize Limited and Crystal Water, and hosted by Mopan Technical High School at the Sacred Heart College auditorium in San Ignacio over the weekend. The tournament, matching the four zone champions, male and female, in a simple knockout format, had first round losers then playing for third place, and first round winners meeting for the championship.
In game 1 on Friday evening, Southern Zone champions Stann Creek Ecumenical High School (SCEHS) clipped Central Zone champs Sadie Vernon Technical High by a 50-48 score. Kevon Laurie led Ecumenical with 22 pts, while Ashton Alvarez had 18 pts and Tyrece Usher 17 pts for Sadie Vernon.
In game 2, Western Zone champs Belmopan Comprehensive School (BCS) had to go to double overtime to win, 94-83, over Northern Zone champs Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTHS). For BCS, Roderick Castillo scored 24 pts, Shawn Menzies 21 pts and Shamar Tablada 19 pts; while OWTH had Rasheed Reneau with 32 pts and Clinton Shaw with 31pts in the loss.
In game 3 for third place on Saturday, Sadie Vernon Tech dominated the Sugar City boys of Orange Walk Technical by an 86-57 margin. Ashton Alvarez netted 29 pts and Tyrece Usher added 21 pts for Sadie Vernon; while Orange Walk Tech’s Rasheed Reneau led all scorers with 40 pts in a losing effort.
The championship game between Ecumenical and Belmopan Comprehensive was also one sided, leading many to suspect that the teams were poorly seeded in the first round, which saw the two power-houses, Ecumenical and Sadie Vernon facing each other. In the final, Ecumenical easily disposed of Compre, 56-34, with Kevon Laurie leading the scoring with 21 pts for Ecumenical.
The seeding problem was the same in the female category of the tournament.
In game 1 on Friday, South Zone champs Delille Academy defeated Central Zone champs Anglican Cathedral College (ACC) by a respectable 37-29 score. Delille was led by Shanelle Thomas with 14 pts; while ACC’s Zaria Jenkins scored 16 pts in the loss.
In game 2 on Friday night, Western Zone champs Sacred Heart College eliminated the Northern Zone champs, Orange Walk’s Muffles College by a 23-14 score. Tanya Warrior had 7 pts, and Cheyenne Gordon 6 pts for Sacred Heart; while Sugar City’s Kyra Chimilio scored 8 pts.
The consolation game 3 for third place on Saturday morning saw ACC girls blowing away Muffles College, 37-9. ACC was led by Zaria Jenkins and Jane Martinez with 16 pts apiece.
And in game 4 for the championship on Saturday afternoon, the Delille girls ran over the Sacred Heart girls, 42-16, with Shanelle Thomas leading the way with 17 pts.
Trophies, medals and awards
In the awards ceremony following the championship games, team trophies and individual medals were issued to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams, as well as individual awards as follows:
MALE individual awards: Most Rebounds – Rasheed Reneau (OWTHS); Most Points – Rasheed Reneau (OWTHS); Most Steals – Roderick Castillo (BCS); Most Blocks – Kevon Laurie (SCEHS); Most Assists – Kevon Laurie (SCEHS); Most Valuable Player – Kevon Laurie (SCEHS).
FEMALE individual awards: Most Rebounds – Jane Martinez (ACC); Most Blocks – Jane Martinez (ACC); Most Assists – Zaria Jenkins (ACC); Most Points – Shanelle Thomas (Delille Academy); Most Steals – Edith Engleton (Delille Academy); Most Valuable Player – Shanelle Thomas (Delille Academy).
(Photos by WILLIAM YSAGUIRRE)