Sports — 01 March 2017 — by Bernard Wagner
NEBL “In the Paint”

Western Ballaz holds off Bandits for 81-74 signature win

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb.27, 2017–Everything was going right for the Western Ballaz on Friday night at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio, following a deep trey by Richard Troyer, which gave his team (Western Ballaz) the seemingly unsurmountable 72-55 fourth quarter lead with just about 6:46 remaining in regulation. But seven team turnovers, two apiece by Richard Troyer and Darwin Leslie, coupled with three missed field goal attempts, of which two were from long distance, were the key components that fueled the 19-9 Bandits run that managed to cut the deficit to five, 79-74, with 0:44 remaining in the game. Fortunately for the Ballaz, they converted 3 of 8 free-throw attempts late, with Elsworth Itza (9 pts 9 rebs) converting 2 of 4, and Ray Cruz (6 pts 4 rebs) converting 1 of 4; these, coupled with their cushy lead, enabled them to seal the 81-74 win.

The Bandits came into Ballaz country boasting a decent (3-1) record, and hastily took the early 15-9 lead behind Farron Louriano and Stephen Williams scoring 11 of their team’s first 15 points. The Ballaz responded quickly, though, and as a result, enjoyed the 20-17 first quarter lead.

An early second-quarter 5-point offensive outburst by Jamie Carbajal sparked the visiting Bandits’ offence, which subsequently went on a 23-11 run, to give the visitors the 40-31 lead with two minutes remaining until the half. But 7 points late in the quarter by Richard Troyer, and free throws by Darwin Leslie helped shrink the Bandits lead to a mere three points, 42-39, at halftime.

A quick 22-10 spurt in the third-quarter open action sparked by Troyer, Nolberto and Rogers, as well as strong defense, enabled the Ballaz to open up a 61-52 lead, the biggest cushion of the game. And when the visitors pulled within reach late in the fourth, it was the Ballaz’ cushion that allowed them to hold off the Bandits down the stretch.

Richard Troyer had his best game of the 2017 campaign so far, totaling a game high 21 pts on 7 of 15 shooting, to go along with 10 rebs and 1 asst. The Ballaz club also had significant contributions from Daniel Nolberto and Darwin Leslie, who contributed 18 pts 2 rebs 2 asst and 11 pts 6 rebs 4 asst, respectively.

The Bandits had four players scoring in double figures, with Farron Louriano totaling 17 pts 7 rebs 2 asst, followed by Stephen Williams 15 pts 9 rebs, Edgar Mitchell 13 pts 5 rebs 8 asst, and Greg Rudon with 10 pts 1 reb.

“Close… but no cigar” for Orange Walk Running Rebels; falls, 54-53, to Tiger Sharks

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb.27, 2017– Close, but no cigars…. meaning – fall just short of a successful outcome, and get nothing for your efforts.

The Running Rebels basketball team suffered a tough loss to the San Pedro Tiger Sharks on Saturday night on the island, losing by the slim margin of one, 54-53.

It took 2 minutes 13 seconds, 3 turnovers and 5 missed field goals, collectively, between the two teams, before the first two points of the game, scored by San Pedro’s Raul Roches, were recorded on the board. From there, it looked as if it would be back-and-forth play for a close game, as the Rebels answered back with a three-pointer from Randy Usher. Tyrone Edwards’ two-point jump shot and Kirk Burgess’ three-pointer gave the Tiger Sharks the early 7-3 lead. Little did they know that it would be their last for the quarter, as the Rebels managed to pull away, 9-7, behind James Ewing’s three consecutive baskets. The Sharks then went cold for the remainder of the quarter, shooting 0 for 13, while compounding it with 3 turnovers, which allowed the visiting Rebels to go on a 14-0 run, ending the first quarter with the 17-7 lead.

Second quarter play saw a Tiger Sharks team focused and determined to change their first quarter misfortunes. The Rebels reluctantly cooperated by engendering a second quarter result that mirrored that of the Tiger Sharks’ first quarter. They could only manage 6 points for the quarter, as they went 2 for 10 from the field, and committed 4 turnovers. This enabled the Tiger Sharks to whittle the Rebels’ 10-point lead down to one, 23-22, at the conclusion of first-half play.

The third quarter saw the game go back and forth, with neither team being able to put the other away; actually, neither team enjoyed a lead greater than three, as the quarter ended with the score knotted at 37 apiece.

An early fourth quarter 3-pointer by the Rebels’ Roger Reneau, and a James Ewing 2-point field goal quickly gave the Rebels the early 42-37 lead with 8:09 in regulation. But an ensuing jump shot by the Sharks’ George Williams, and free throws by Raul Roches quickly cut that lead to 42-41 in favor of the Rebels. Refusing to let this one slip away, the Rebels replied with a 6-0 spurt, pushing their lead to seven, 48-41, with 3:20 remaining in the game. But George Williams wasn’t ready to let go just yet, as he, along with Jamal Kelly and Tyrone Edwards, took matters into their own hands, outscoring the Rebels 11 to 5 in the final 3:11 of regulation, leaving them with a hard loss to swallow at 54-53 on the road.

The Sharks were led by George Williams 12 pts 3 rebs, Kirk Burgess 12 pts 13 rebs, and Raul Roches 10 pts 10 rebs. They shot 33% from the field, and outrebounded their opponents, 47-34. Meanwhile, for the Rebels, it was James Ewing totaling 18 pts 10 rebs, followed by Roger Reneau 16 pts 7 rebs, and Randy Usher 10 pts 3 rebs 4 asst.

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