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Defenders win game 3; Hurricanes protest

SportsDefenders win game 3; Hurricanes protest

Photo: Referee signaling to remove no points

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 1, 2024

The 2024 Belize Elite Basketball League (BEBL) best-of-five-games finals series continued on Friday, June 28, at the Belize City Civic Center with the series tied at 1-1 between the Belize Hurricanes and Belize City Defenders, and it ended in a controversial twist in favor of the Defenders.

In this best-of-five-games series, the winner of game 3, with a 2-1 series lead, would have been poised to clinch game 4 and walk away as the champions. Throughout the game, neither team gave up any ground – with the largest lead for either team being 6 points – and the first half ended with the Hurricanes up by a single bucket, 48-46.

That tit-for-tat type of scoring continued in the second half; however, at 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Hurricanes up, 86-83, that’s when the stage was set for controversy when Devin Daly of the Defenders missed a 3-pt shot, following which the Hurricanes grabbed the rebound, with Kirk Smith, Jr. bringing up the ball into the front court.

When the Hurricanes secured the ball, the shot clock had stayed at 24 seconds, while the game clock slightly paused for an estimated 7 seconds until Smith had crossed the half-court, which actually took him an estimated 12 seconds to do, so it was decided to make the correction, and 5 seconds were shaved off the shot clock.

During the possession, no whistle was blown, thus, the game continued. The Hurricanes then ran the clock down to 36.5 seconds and scored a bucket, putting the score at 88-83. After the Defenders called a timeout, the play was reviewed by officials and the Hurricanes’ 2 points were shaved off due to an 8-second violation, putting the Hurricanes’ score back at 86-83.

The game then continued, ending with two big plays from D’von Campbell of the Defenders, who hit what became the game-winning shot at 87-86, as he then made a defensive play, forcing a Hurricanes turnover. As a result, the Defenders are now leading the series, 2-1.

After the game, the Hurricanes protested the officials’ decision to remove the 2 points away from them, stating that it was against FIBA rules to do so, as they didn’t call an 8-second violation. They requested that the 36.5 seconds be re-played after the basket was made, and the Game 3 thus be played to completion before Game 4; and their protest was successful. However, the Defenders then appealed their protest, and no decision has been made yet.

As a result of the Defenders’ appeal, Game 4, which was slated to be played on Sunday, June 30, had to be postponed to a later date.

Sources have told Amandala that no games will be played until July 26, as the finals have been suspended due to Hurricane Beryl approaching Belize and to allow for the League’s Appeals Committee to decide the results of Game 3.

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