Belize Elite Basketball League 2023 Tournament results and upcoming games:
Fri. Mar 17: Benny’s Belize Hurricanes 143, Punta Gorda Panthers 78 (Belize City Center); Orange Walk Running Rebels 101, Western Ballaz 89 (OW Multi-Purpose Complex).
Sat. Mar 18: Griga Dream Ballers 77, Belize City Defenders 72 (Russell Chiste Garcia Auditorium); San Pedro Tiger Sharks 103, Belmopan Red Taigaz 88 (UB Gym).
Fri. Mar 24: Belize City Defenders vs Belmopan Red Taigaz (Belize City Center); Orange Walk Running Rebels vs Griga Dream Ballers (OW Multi-Purpose Complex).
Sat. Mar 25: *San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs Benny’s Hurricanes (San Pedro High School) *; Punta Gorda Panthers vs Western Ballaz (Toledo Sports Complex).
*This scheduled game is the subject of a late postponement because the court is unavailable due to a 2-day dentist voluntary outreach.
BEBL Disciplinary Committee will suspend San Pedro player
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 23, 2023
At press time today, the Belize Elite Basketball League (BEBL) has not publicly released the determination of its Disciplinary Committee, appointed a few weeks ago, and which heard and examined a complaint by the Belmopan Red Taigaz regarding an in-game, on-court incident Saturday night at the University of Belize auditorium.
With 01:27:00 left in the first quarter, Jeremiah Toney, the Taigaz’ leading scorer, who is also one of the tournament’s leading scorers, was assessed a technical foul after an off-ball collision near mid-court with San Pedro’s defensive specialist Raul Roches. Both men ended up on the floor with Toney apparently writhing in pain.
The home team’s head coach Bernie Tarr was made livid by the call and outraged by the penalty, and after a confrontation with the officials was disqualified and thrown out of the game. His team, which trailed 22-16 before the call, would end up losing by 15 points, 101-88.
The visitors then converted 2 of the 3 free throws they were awarded. Toney managed to keep his composure and would finish with 29 points and haul 9 rebounds, whilst Roches, who only played 7:31 minutes, would score no points, grab a board, and was credited with 2 steals.
Roches, in fact, has only scored 2 points in 7 games all tournament, while Toney has scored 200 points in 7 games and his scoring average of 28.6 ppg is among the tournament leaders.
Our review of video recordings of the incident appears to show that Toney ran into Roches while trying to get up court while being guarded closely by the latter, who had planted his body in front of the former, and who had lowered his head in anticipation of the collision.
The Disciplinary Committee (DC) is chaired by former semi-pro commissioner Daniel Fabro, and the other members of the tribunal are Glen Gill, the BEBL technical and assistant commissioner, as well as Dwight Cadle, president of the Belize Association of Basketball Officials (BABO).
The officiating crew of referees were Teddy Andrewin (lead), Jeovaughan Robateau, and Francis Pasqual. Angelique Ayuso, Belize’s only active female referee, was the game’s commissioner.
Last week, the DC gave Defenders’ head coach Matthew Smiling a one-game suspension, which he served for his team’s Saturday night loss to Griga Dream Ballers, for a confrontation with officials following a violent collision involving one of his players on court in San Pedro two weeks ago. There is apparently no video recording of that incident.
It is anticipated that suspensions and other penalties will be stiffer or harsher for this incident. One of the other head coaches told AMANDALA that he is hopeful that the committee will drop the hammer and not the ball.
Unlike all the other teams in the tournament, these two teams still have another game pending because their first game was cancelled due to the poor condition of the court at the San Pedro High School partially open-air auditorium, and no games were played there until last week.
And now late breaking news is that the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were scheduled to host the Benny’s Belize Hurricanes on the island this Saturday night March 25 at the San Pedro High School, but the game is now a late cancelation. Both games will be re-scheduled, the first likely immediately after the Easter break.
Benny’s was expecting to hold on to their share of the tournament’s lead, while the Tiger Sharks are desperate to hold on to their current position, within a game of a playoff position. They have a home heavy home court schedule after playing 6 of their first 7 games on the road. They were once undefeated there for almost 2 years, 2014-15, and won consecutive championships.
Benny’s having incorporated Kirk Smith, Jr. in their line-up are hoping to run the table over their next 6 games.
On Saturday night the Western Ballaz, another team hoping to make it to the playoffs but currently mired near the bottom of the standings, will trek to Punta Gorda to face the Panthers who are the tournament cellar dwellers. Neither team has won on the road so far this tournament, and the Panthers sole win has come at home.
Friday night the Belize City Defenders will host the Belmopan Red Taigaz at the Belize City Center with both teams hoping to right a tailspin. The host Belize City team has lost their last 3 games and has fallen out of the tournament lead, while Belmopan has lost their last two and are now trailing for the last playoff spot.
Certainly, the marquee game of the weekend slate must be the red-hot Orange Walk Running Rebels hosting the equally hot Griga Dream Ballers at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex on Friday night. Both teams are now statistically tied for the tournament’s lead on the strength of twin 5-game winning streaks.
Certainly, something has to give, and because the tournament will take a 2-week All-Star/Easter break after this weekend, the loser will have enough time to lick their wounds.
Whether the break will prove propitious or disadvantageous to a tournament that has been struggling to find momentum after a near 3-year break, remains to be seen.