Sports — 13 June 2014 — by Malcolm Hyde

No Limit’s 2014 playoff run comes to an end

The Belize City No Limit Soldiers’ run in the 2014 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs came to an end last week Friday night in the third and final game of the semifinal series against the Cayo Western Ballaz at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town. The series was tied at a game apiece, thus game 3 was do-or-die for both franchises.

Emotions were riding high, and some players seemed to struggle to hold their composure in a game of such immense magnitude, losing their cool from time to time, and getting into shouting matches with players on their own team.

The game was very physical early on, as neither team was looking to hold anything back. And with an arena packed to capacity with mostly Western Ballaz supporters, the fans seemed to live and die with every play, erupting with a joyous noise for every shot made by the home town Western Ballaz, and falling deep into despair anytime the No Limit Soldiers made a basket.

It was late in the 2nd quarter where the game took a major turn in the absolute worst direction for the City squad, when a scuffle between Kurt Burgess of the Western Ballaz and Andrew Ortiz of the No Limit Soldiers resulted in both players being ejected for what seemed to be a minor offence, as no punches were thrown; but still, the Soldiers would have to finish the game without their most explosive player.

The Western Ballaz would dominate the 2nd half, outscoring the visitors 21 to 15 in the 3rd, and 16 to 15 in the 4th. The Ballaz held the lead for the entire 40 minutes of action, even holding an advantage of more than 20 points late in the 4th quarter. The Belize City No Limit Soldiers tried to claw their way back after digging themselves a hole in the 1st half, but it would not be enough, as the Cayo Western Ballaz took the victory and the series with a final score of 75 to 57.

Top scorers for the Ballaz were: Travis Lennan with 12 points, Richard Troyer with 17, and Farron Lauriano who exploded for 34 points in the series clinching victory. And on the other side, the No Limit Soldiers were led by Matthew Young, Greg Rudon, and Elsowrth Itza, who tallied 8 points apiece.

The Ballaz now advance to the NEBL Finals where the San Pedro Tigersharks await them. Game 1 of that series is set for this Sunday in San Pedro.

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