The Belize District Basketball Association’s 2011 Telemedia Ballin-4-life U20 and Senior Basketball Tournaments were scheduled to tip off on Friday night, May 6, with an opening ceremony and championship ring distribution for the last tournament to take place just before the Senior game at the Civic. Unfortunately, there was no Senior game, as last year’s 2nd place team, Aubrey Lopez’s AL Belmopan Bandits was a no-show. The ring distribution ceremony was therefore postponed.
In the only game played on opening night, a U20 match-up, defending champions Orange Walk Runnin Rebels overpowered the new entrant Kremandala Rebels, 90-83, in a keenly contested match that saw the defending champions eclipsed by the newcomers in rebounds, 65-54. But the champions from Orange Walk had better contribution from their bench, 62 pts to 23, and more accuracy from 3-point range, hitting 7 of 19 (37%) to Krem’s 4 for 23 (17%), which likely contributed to their victory in a game that saw 11 lead changes. Top guns for Orange Walk were Jarrell Velasquez 26 pts 12 rebs 6 assts, Edgar Mitchel 22 pts 6 rebs 3 assts 3 stls, and Roger Reneau 14 pts 3 stls; while for Kremandala, Kaschief Thomas had 31 pts 4 rebs 3 assts, Brian White 16 pts 16 rebs 4 stls, and Andrew Ortiz 10 pts 9 rebs.
The tournament continued with two games on Monday night. In the U20 opener, the critical difference was on the “boards,” as Hold-On-Smart dominated the Truckers, 59-41, to come away with the 88-72 victory. For the winners, Raheem Staine led the way with 25 pts 4 rebs 4 stls, and he was ably assisted by Oyinkro Akpobodor 15 pts 14 rebs, and Mychal Fairweather 10 pts 17 rebs. For Truckers, Oliver Solis had 25 pts 11 rebs 4 assts 3 stls and Stephen Smith 22 pts 15 rebs.
The Senior nightcap also saw a disparity in rebounds, with Mavericks showing a dominating 64-47 advantage over Black Mamba on the boards; but in this case it wasn’t enough to secure a Mavericks victory, as they fell short in marksmanship, hitting a woeful 1 for 13 or 8% from three point range, to Black Mamba’s 5 for 15 for a respectable 33%. It was the same story from the free throw line, where Mavericks were only able to sink 17 of 43 (40%) to Black Mamba’s 21 of 32 (66%). Despite jumping out to a 7-point lead to end the first quarter, Mavericks found themselves trailing in every subsequent quarter, until the end, losing by 76-70 to the Black Mamba. Getting the job done for Black Mamba were Jamir Flores 23 pts 8 rebs 3 stls, Ernest Tench 21 pts 10 rebs 4 stls, and Hakeem Arzu 13 pts 3 rebs 3 assts; while Mavericks were led by Dwayne Davis with an awesome 29 pts 29 rebs, along with Barney Leonard 16 pts 14 rebs, and Haddan Garbutt 13 pts 5 rebs 2 stls.
Two more games were played last night, both U20. In game 1, Kremandala Rebels posted their first big win, 90-66, over Thunder, who shot a dismal 30% from the field to the Rebels’ 50%. Kaschief Thomas led Kremandala with 25 pts 4 rebs 4 assts, along with Elvis Olivera 19 pts 11 rebs and Brian White 13 pts 11 rebs; while the only player in double figures for Thunder was Matthew Young with 20 pts 15 rebs.
The Senior nightcap was a close one, with 18 lead changes, but down the stretch Hold-On Smart pulled away to claim the 85-76 victory. Hold-On Smart dominated the boards, 61-41, and had better production from their bench, 27-9, resulting in 4 players in double figures, to only 2 from Truckers. For Hold-On Smart, Raheem Staine had 21 pts 10 rebs 4 assts, Kendice Williams 21 pts 7 rebs, Oyinkro Akpobodor 15 pts 10 rebs 3 stls, and Mychal Fairweather 10 pts 12 rebs; while Truckers were led by Stephen Smith 28 pts 13 rebs 2 stls, Oliver Solis 23 pts 3 rebs, and Jaleel Arnold 8 pts 11 rebs.
Upcoming weekend schedule:
Friday, May 13
7:00 p.m. – (U20) OW Runnin Rebels vs Truckers
8:00 p.m. – (Senior) UB Black Jaguars vs Maxboro Mavericks
Sunday, May 15
10:30 a.m. – (U20) Thunder vs Hold-On-Smart
11:30 a.m. – (U20) Truckers vs Kremandala Rebels
12:30 p.m. – (Senior) Black Mambas vs UB Black Jaguars
1:30 p.m. – (Senior) Aubrey Lopez’s AL Belmopan Bandits vs Maxboro Mavericks