SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. Apr. 24, 2016–San Pedro Tiger Sharks takes first bite in playoffs, defeating Bandits in Belmopan:
On Thursday night, the NEBL playoffs tipped off in Belmopan, as two-time defending champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks traveled to Belmopan to take on the Bandits at the UB gymnasium. The game got off to a sluggish start, with both teams struggling in the first quarter, as Belmopan Bandits took an 11-7 lead. The offensive struggles continued for both teams, as the game was tied at 21 apiece going into intermission, with both teams demonstrating great defensive resolve in the first half. The Tiger Sharks took a 35-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, which they extended to 9 points mid-way through the fourth. The home team then went on a 14-2 run of its own, behind 2 huge three-pointers by Stephen “Muerte” Williams, to take a 3-point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game. However, key free throws down the stretch allowed the visiting squad to steal the 58-55 victory, and home court in the semifinals.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by Tyrone “Mission” Edwards, who had his best offensive output this season, with the game high 19 pts, to go with 4 assists and 3 steals; while Gene Myvett tallied a double-double, with 11 pts, 10 rebs, 5 steals and 2 dishes. Andrew “Bynum” Ortiz also registered a double-double in the game, scoring 10 pts and grabbing 12 boards. Ortiz sank 6 of 9 free throws down the stretch, to seal the victory for the two-time defending champs. With the loss, Belmopan Bandits’ 8-game winning streak was snapped.
The top scorer for Belmopan Bandits was Jarrel Velasquez, who netted 15 pts, while grabbing 4 rebs to go with 2 assists and 2 steals. Kurt “Chengo” Burgess finished the night with a double-double, sinking 12 pts, to go with 11rebs; and Nick Brown also finished with a double-double, tallying 10 pts, 10 rebs and 2 assists.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks out-rebounded Belmopan Bandits, 47-40. San Pedro gutted out this win, shooting a dismal 27% from the field, compared to Belmopan Bandits’ 35%. San Pedro had the 11-3 advantage on second chance points, while their bench outscored the home team, 20-6.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series now moves out to San Pedro on Saturday night, where the two-time defending champs can advance to the finals with a win. Belmopan Bandits must win to force the third and decisive game back to the UB gymnasium in Belmopan.
Farron Louriano lifts Smart Belize Hurricanes to a game 1 victory versus Griga
by Charleston Gladden
On Friday night, Dangriga Warriors traveled to the Belize Elementary School gym to face off against their rivals, Smart Belize Hurricanes, as they tipped off game 1 in a best-of-3 series in the semifinals of the NEBL playoffs. Dangriga Warriors jumped out to an early 17-10 lead in the first quarter, but Smart Belize Hurricanes bounced back to take a commanding 15 point lead in the second quarter, 41-26. However, Edgar Mitchell and Daniel Nolberto from the Dangriga Warriors were able to cut their team’s deficit to 3 points at the half, 43-40. The third quarter was a back and forth game with 7 ties and 12 lead changes, and at the end of the third quarter, the Warriors was up, 66–62. In the final quarter, the Hurricanes made key plays to get back the lead, and were able to maintain the lead in order to win the game, 93-82, and take the lead in the series.
Smart Belize Hurricanes finished with 4 players in double-digit scoring: Farron Louriano finished with a game high of 34 pts, 15 rebs, 2 steals, 1 blocked shot, and 1 assist; Jacob Leslie with 15 pts, 2 assists, and 1 reb; Darwin “Puppy” Leslie with 12 pts, 5 rebs, 2 assists, and 1 blocked shot; and the rookie, Glency Lopez, with 14 pts, 6 assists and 1 steal, who ignited the team with his contribution off the bench.
Dangriga Warriors also had 4 players scoring in double digits: Daniel Nolberto with 26 pts, 5 rebs and 3 steals; James Ewing with 25 pts, 7 rebs and 1 steal; Edgar Mitchell with 14 pts, 5 steals, 4 rebs and 2 assists; and Jamir Flores with 11 pts, 3 assists, 1 reb and 1 steal.
Smart Belize Hurricanes dominated the glass with a 55-34 advantage, giving them the 20-10 edge on second chance points. Hurricanes’ bench significantly impacted the game, with a 26-4 scoring advantage. Both teams shot great from the field, with Smart Belize Hurricanes and Dangriga Warriors hitting 46% and 43%, respectively. The Warriors shot only 52% from the free throw line, missing 20 free-throw attempts in the game.
Smart Belize Hurricanes sweeps Dangriga Warriors to advance to the NEBL Finals
by Charleston Gladden
On Saturday night, Smart Belize Hurricanes traveled to the south to face off against Dangriga Warriors, in an attempt to close the semifinals series and advance to their first finals in franchise history. In the early portion of the first quarter, Dangriga came out offensively strong, until midway through the first quarter, where Smart Belize Hurricanes took the lead and ended the quarter leading 20–15. At the end of the second quarter, the Hurricanes maintained the lead with a score of 34–29. As the second half progressed, the Warriors took a 38-35 lead, but unfortunately, that lead was short-lived by Smart Belize Hurricanes, who took back the lead and came out of Dangriga with a 79-72 win, to advance to the NEBL finals.
Dangriga Warriors finished with 4 players in double digits: James Ewing with a game-high of 20 pts, 4 rebs, 2 steals and 2 assists; Edgar Mitchell with 17 pts, 5 rebs, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot; Jamir Flores with 12 pts, 5 rebs, 3 steals, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot; and Macario Augustine, who finished with a double-double of 14 rebs, 10 pts, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.
Meanwhile, Smart Belize Hurricanes also had 4 players in double digits: Darwin “Puppy” Leslie with 17 pts, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot; Leroy Louriano with 16 pts, 3 rebs, 3 assists and 1 steal; Brian White, who had a double-double with 16 rebs, 15 pts and 1 steal; and Jacob Leslie with 11 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assists and 2 steals, along with 1 blocked shot.
Smart Belize Hurricanes held a slim 39-35 edge on the rebounding glass, while shooting an impressive 47% from the field. Again, poor free throw shooting was a key stat in this game, as Dangriga missed 16 free throws, shooting only 47% from the charity stripe.
Two time defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks claims finals berth again
On Saturday night, the NEBL playoffs continued at the San Pedro High School, as Belmopan Bandits traveled to the island to take on the two-time defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks. This was a must-win game for Belmopan Bandits to avoid playoff elimination three years straight by San Pedro Tiger Sharks. A win for the home team would propel them to their third consecutive NEBL finals.
From tip off, the home team controlled the tempo of the game, grabbing a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. They maintained this lead going into intermission, 35-27, which they increased in the second half to take the 70-55 victory, sweeping the semifinals series against Belmopan Bandits.
Gene Myvett was the top scorer for San Pedro Tiger Sharks, tallying 16 pts, 6 rebs, 4 steals and 3 assists. Jamal Kelly netted 11 pts, while Raul Roches recorded a double-double with 10 pts and 11 rebs.
The top scorer for Belmopan Bandits was Nick Brown, who netted 13 pts and 4 rebs; while Kurt “Chengo” Burgess finished with another double-double, scoring 12 pts and grabbing 11 rebs, while dishing out 2 assists. Stephen “Muerte” Williams tallied 10 pts, 4 rebs and 3 steals.
Belmopan Bandits had the 39-34 rebounding edge, but San Pedro had a 29-8 advantage on bench points. The Tiger Sharks shot an impressive 51% from the field, compared to only 33% field goal shooting by the visiting team.
In the regular season, Smart Belize Hurricanes swept the 2-game series against the two-time defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks. It is the first time that a team has swept the Tiger Sharks in the regular season. The Hurricanes was the first team to register a win in San Pedro, where they overcame a 17 point lead to narrowly steal the 89-88 victory. Their second game of the regular season was played at the Belize Elementary School Gym, where the #1 seeded team, Smart Belize Hurricanes won 78-69. Both teams have a huge front court, and are physically strong, while the guard play is evenly matched. It will be Raul Roches, Andrew “Bynum” Ortiz and Caleb Sutton going up against Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, Farron Louriano and Brian White. A huge factor in this game is if San Pedro’s big men can keep Farron Louriano off the offensive glass. San Pedro Tiger Sharks boasts the veteran play of Tyrone “Mission” Edwards at the point guard position, and he will be facing Leroy Louriano. If Ashton Edwards is available, his hot shooting will surely pose a threat for Smart Belize Hurricanes, who has their own sharp-shooter, Jacob Leslie. Darwin “Puppy” Leslie won his first two championships with San Pedro Tiger Sharks, but will now be on the opposing squad, offering leadership and poise in the finals for Smart Belize Hurricanes. The bench play will be huge for both teams, as the Hurricanes has rookie sensation Glency Lopez, Ty Bradley and Akeem Watters coming off the bench to face off with Jamal Kelly, Andrew Ortiz and Douglas Valley of Tiger Sharks.
Smart Belize Hurricanes will have the home court advantage in this best-of-three final series that surely promises to be huge for the league. Either a new team will be crowned NEBL champion this season, or San Pedro Tiger Sharks will three-peat as champions. The action tips off this Friday in Belize City.
Individual Awards: The league’s top scorer this season was Farron Louriano from Smart Belize Hurricanes, who averaged 21.48 points per game; while the leading rebounder was Macario Augustine of Dangriga Warriors, who ripped 14.46 boards per game. Gene Myvett, from San Pedro Tiger Sharks, dished out 4.67 assists per game, to steal that award. The other awards were selected via votes by the managers, commissioner and the BBF president. The Coach of the Year award went to Matthew Smiling from Dangriga Warriors; while Macario Augustine, also from Dangriga Warrirors, snatched the Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rookie of the Year was unanimously awarded to Glency Lopez from Smart Belize Hurricanes; while the Most Valuable Player for the regular season was awarded to Farron Louriano, from Smart Belize Hurricanes, who has now won this award twice in the past three seasons. The league would like to congratulate all the players who won these individual awards.
Finals Schedule: Friday night at 9 p.m. – San Pedro Tiger Sharks at Smart Belize Hurricanes
Saturday, May 7 at 9 p.m. – Smart Belize Hurricanes at San Pedro Tiger Sharks
Friday, May 13 at 9 p.m. (if necessary) – San Pedro Tiger Sharks at Smart Belize Hurricanes
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.