SAN IGNACIO, Cayo District, Sun. Mar. 24, 2019– Five games were played over the weekend in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), as teams have activated playoff mode to give a final push to get in.
Verdes continues to roll; Bandits continues to struggle
On Thursday night, Verdes took a 4-game winning streak into the UB gym against the Belmopan Bandits, as they continue to pace the #1 seed, Griga Dream Ballers. Bandits were mentally prepared for the fight with their district rival, trailing by only 1 point going into the final quarter of the game, behind great three-point shooting and scoring from Daniel Nolberto and Jevonte Hughes. After three very close quarters, Verdes outscored Belmopan, 29–10, to blow the game open and take a 96–76 victory, extending their winning streak to 5 games. With the loss, Belmopan falls to 2–5, and remains in the bottom bracket of the standings. Richard Troyer had the game high with 24 pts 7 rebs, while Kris Frazier finished with 21 pts 9 rebs, and Tyrone Hall chipped in 13 pts. Elsworth Itza dominated the glass with 13 rebs. For the Bandits, Jevonte Hughes was their top scorer with 21 pts 8 rebs, while Daniel Nolberto tallied 16 pts and 6 dimes, and Brandon Flowers and Darnel Oden netted 13 and 10 pts, respectively. With the win, Verdes keeps pace with Griga for the #1 seed, while Belmopan Bandits is slowly drifting from playoff contention.
Nigel Jones and Belize City Defenders need overtime to squeak past Orange Walk Running Rebels
Also on Thursday night, the excitement was at its highest in Orange Walk Town, as Belize City Defenders travelled up north to take on the Running Rebels in a crucial game with significant playoff implications for Defenders. Orange Walk had a great game, keeping the game in reach throughout the four quarters, as Defenders opened up a lead in the last two minutes of the game, slowly pulling away from the home squad. However, two huge three-pointers from Roger Reneau narrowed the gap and sent the game to overtime. Overtime continued with the intensity, as key free throws and shots down the stretch gave the visiting team the 93–91 victory. Last year’s MVP, Nigel Jones led all scorers with 36 pts, which is this year’s season high, to go with 9 boards, while Mykiel Tzul and Farron Louriano scored 21 and 13 pts, respectively. Roger Reneau was the top scorer for Orange Walk Running Rebels with 22 pts 5 rebs, while Isaiah Thomas finished with 20 pts 7 reb 4 assts. Shemar White had one of the best games in his NEBL career, tallying 19 pts 9 rebs, and Julien Travis finished with 18 pts 13 rebs.
Jihad Wright and San Pedro Tiger Sharks get crucial win against Hurricanes
San Pedro Tiger Sharks entered the Civic Center to face off the defending champions, Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes on Friday night, with their backs against the wall and in desperate need of a win. The Tiger Sharks jumped out to an early 23–18 lead at the end of the first quarter, which they were able to extend to 42–35 at the half. They sustained a 61–54 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Hurricanes gave a run to cut the lead to 3 points with a few minutes remaining in the game. However, Jihad Wright and big man, Martevuius Adams proved to be too much, as San Pedro Tiger Sharks grabbed a much needed 80–75 win. Jihad Wright finished the game with 32 pt 8 rebs 4 stls, while Martevuius Adams tallied 16 pts 7 rebs. Devin Daly came off the bench to lead the Hurricanes with 20 pts, while Glency Lopez tallied 16 pts 6 rebs 4 assts 4 stls, and Shanon Fowler knotted a double-double with 13 pts 10 rebs. With the win, San Pedro Tiger Sharks remain in the playoff hunt, while Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes is nursing a 1-game lead over the Tiger Sharks and Defenders, as they travel out west to take on Verdes on Saturday night.
Verdes claims #1 seed with win, while Hurricanes loses back-to-back games
On Saturday night, Verdes hosted Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, where Verdes was trying to keep pace with Griga Dream Ballers for the top spot in the standings, and Hurricanes was hoping to bounce back from a loss last night. Verdes was able to jump out to an early 34–21 halftime lead, which they were able to sustain to grab the 76–64 victory. With the win, Verdes has ballooned to the # 1 spot in the standings, with a date with Griga Dream Ballers this coming Friday. Verdes is riding a 6-game winning streak, and has lost only 1 game this season, against Griga Dream Ballers in Dangriga. The winner of this game will have sole possession of first place with only 3 weeks remaining in the regular season. With the loss, the Hurricanes suffered back-to-back losses on Friday and Saturday nights, falling into a 3-way tie with the Tiger Sharks and the Defenders with a 4–4 record, where only 2 of these 3 teams can make the playoffs.
Belmopan Bandits stuns Griga Dream Ballers to keep slim playoff hope alive
Griga Dream Ballers hosted Belmopan Bandits at the Russell Chiste Garcia Auditorium on Saturday night in an attempt to extend their winning streak to 7 games and to remain atop the standings. The Dream Ballers jumped out to an early 18–1 lead with a blow-out in sight, as they prepared for the big showdown with Verdes this coming Friday. However, Belmopan Bandits knew their season was on the line, and decided to play with greater urgency. They slowly closed the gap, to trail by only 9 at intermission, after which they went on an offensive run to take the lead. Belmopan Bandits was able to steal the 79–78 victory in the culture capital to stun the Griga Dream Ballers squad, giving them their first loss at home this season. For the Bandits, Jevonte Hughes tallied 30 pts 11 rebs 3 assts, while Jevaughn McKenzie had 14 huge pts, and Daniel “Buddy” Nolberto finished with 13 pts 7 rebs and 4 dimes. In a losing effort for Dream Ballers, Delvon Henderson finished with 23 pts 11 rebs, Daniel Conorque netted 20 pts, and Edgar Mitchell almost posted a triple double with 15 pts 10 rebs and 9 dishes. With the win, Belmopan Bandits has kept their playoff hopes alive, while Griga Dream Ballers can reclaim the #1 spot this coming Friday if they can defeat Verdes in San Ignacio Town.
Below are the standings, where teams are ranked based on the points they have accumulated so far. The variation in standings is due to the fact that all teams have not played the same number of games.
All scores, standings, player statistics and team statistics can be found on our webpage at neblbelize.com
This weekend promises to offer three great games, as teams begin to joggle for playoff spots. The weekend finishes with our annual All Star Night at the Civic Center.
Upcoming games are below:
Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Smart/Mirage Belize Hurricanes at UB gym in Belmopan.
Friday night at 9:00 p.m. – Belize City Defenders vs San Pedro Tiger Sharks at Belize Civic Center in Belize City.
Friday night at 9:00 p.m. – Verdes vs Griga Dream Ballers at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town.
Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. – All Star Night at the Civic Center, starting with the 3-Point Contest, followed by the Slam Dunk Contest, then the All Star Game.