Sports — 11 May 2019 — by Coach Roscoe Rhys
Light & Peace Basketball Foundation took U-19 team to Dru Joyce Classic in Akron, Ohio, April 26-28

BELIZE CITY, Sun. May 5, 2019– The Light & Peace Basketball Foundation, under coaches Roscoe Rhys, Darwin “Puppy” Leslie and Rupert Brown, travelled to Akron, Ohio in Cleveland, United States on April 25 to 30, 2019, to play in an NCAA certified showcase named the Dru Joyce Classic. The main focus of this trip was to give 9 Belizean high school and 1st year junior college players the opportunity to get scouted and earn a collegiate scholarship in the USA and Canada.

The tournament began on Friday night, April 26, at 7:00 p.m. EST, as team Light & Peace Belize played against Monarchs from Canada. It was a competitive game, as Belize was right there in striking distance to win the game, but came up short and lost the game by a score of 71 to 60 to a talented team from Canada, who went on to win the Gold Bracket Championship.

Day 2 in Akron Ohio, the Light and Peace Team Belize played against another tough opponent at 9:00 a.m. EST. This time it was a team from Cincinnati Ohio called the Cincy Lakers.  The game was competitive all the way through, and came down to the wire, as Cincy Lakers called their last timeout with 7.2 seconds on the clock, and the game tied at 56 to 56. Cincy Lakers inbounded the ball in the backcourt, as Donell Arzu stole the inbound pass and passed it to Clinton Shaw on the run, who laid the ball up with his left hand to win the game for Belize on the buzzer.

Day 2 at the Dru Joyce Classic continued at 3:00 p.m. EST, as team Light & Peace Belize played against yet another tough team, Kings Nation from Detroit, Michigan in their second game for the Saturday, that came down to possession basketball; and Kings Nation defeated Team Belize, 72 to 70. Team Light & Peace Belize dropped into the silver medal bracket round semi-finals on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m. EST, Light & Peace Belize geared up for their Silver Bracket Semi-Finals against a well-organized and disciplined team, North West Ohio Basketball Club.

Team Belize started off the game slowly, and NW Ohio from the jump-ball showed that they were prepared for playing their 4th game on the third day of game play. Team Light & Peace kept the game close in the first half, trailing by 11. In the 2nd half, Team NW Ohio was just the more disciplined team, taking care of the basketball and running their offense to perfection; they set great screens, and all 5 players that were on the court at any given time could shoot the basketball consistently from behind the 3-point line…Team NW Ohio beat Team Belize by a 20 + margin, thus knocking them out of the Silver Bracket Semi-Finals.

Nevertheless, the trip to Akron was a success and learning experience for the boys, as they proved to themselves that they can compete with boys their age internationally; and it definitely showed them what they need to work on to become better basketball players.

This summer, two of the boys will have the opportunity at a high school and junior college scholarship in USA.

Team Belize Light & Peace 2019 players that attended the trip to Akron, Ohio, were:  Kevon Laurie – 18-year-old 6’4″ G/F, Senior, Delille Academy, Dangriga Town; Donell Arzu – 18-year-old 6’4″ G/F, 1st year, Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College; Jahred Phillips – 17-year-old 6″4″ C/F, Senior, St. John’s College, Belize City; Clinton Shaw – 18-year-old 5’10″ G, 1st year, Muffles Junior College, Orange Walk Town; Kerdell Tench – 17-year-old 5’10″ G, Senior, Wesley College, Belize City; Jayden Lopez – 17-year-old 6’1″ G, 1st year, Galen University; Jaylen Lennan – 17-year-old 5’11″ G, Senior, Sacred Heart College, San Ignacio, Cayo; Xylon Belgrove – 18-year-old 5’11″ G, Senior, Wesley College, Belize City; Karimi Lambert – 17-year-old 6’3″ F, 1st year, St. John’s Junior College, but resides Dangriga Town.

About Light & Peace

The Light & Peace Basketball Foundation has been working in the community and country of Belize for over 12 years and counting. Our aim is to nurture, teach, and develop young minds through the sport of basketball. Over the years, the foundation has developed a great percentage of the young talent across Belize.

We have realized that for our young basketball talent in Belize to get exposure to student athlete-level, which is the international way to go. So, we teamed up with Neobasketball exposure camps and the Coach Dru Joyce, who is the founder of the Dru Joyce Classic in Akron, Ohio, and we have Team Belize representing for its 2nd consecutive year under the Light & Peace Basketball Foundation umbrella.

Thanks

We at Light & Peace would like to thank the following businesses and people who gave a contribution to this annual event:  Belize Natural Energy Ltd (BNE); Kachief Thomas for creating the Dru Joyce Classic Link/Hotel Accommodations; Hon. Patrick Faber; Orson Elrington; Ian Jones and the National Sports Council; Mirage Belize & Hotchandani Family; Medina’s Construction Company Ltd.; Mr. Michael Bowen/Bowen & Bowen Ltd.; Cellular World Vishal Sabnani; Mr. Troy Gabb; Mimi Tillman and Belize Diaspora; BEL; Belize Global Travel & Mrs. Anna Price with flight bookings; Mr. Mike Coye; Mr. Mark Espat; Mr. Kent Clare and Family; Mr. Jamie McCoy and Family.

To all the parents, families, schools and the general public, we at the Light & Peace Basketball Foundation would like to say Thank You once again for all your support.

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Deshawn Swasey

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