First teams secure their spots for upcoming 2019 NEBL playoffs

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

The 2019 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament has only two weeks remaining of regular games in the current season, before heading to the playoffs. After the most recent games, Team Verdes and Dangriga Dream Ballers have clinched home-court advantage as the games #1 seed and #2 seed respectively, in the first round of the three-game semi-finals series of the approaching playoffs. The results of the two remaining weeks of regular games will determine who will clinch the #3 and #4 seeds, and that is a battle between the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes. The playoffs have been scheduled to start on Friday, April 26th.
On Saturday, April 12th, Team Verdes hosted Belmopan Bandits at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District. Verdes jumped out to an early 27-14 lead in the first quarter, which they extended to 49-30 at halftime. During the second half of the game, Verdes controlled the game, and Belmopan Bandits never could narrow the score. When the last quarter came to an end, Verdes emerged victorious with a crushing 112-57 total.
Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes traveled to Orange Walk Town where they faced the Orange Walk Running Rebels. Even though the Running Rebels are already out of the season, they were a challenge for the visiting squad. By halftime Orange Walk Running Rebels were losing by a close 44-38 gap. In the third quarter, they almost closed the gap, but in the final quarter of the game, they lost momentum and Hurricanes blew out Orange Walk with an 88-72 win.
The following day, San Pedro Tiger Sharks traveled to San Ignacio Town, where they played their home game against Belize City Defenders because the Angel Nuñez Auditorium was unavailable. The Belize City team grabbed a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, but by half time, the island team managed to overcome their opponent and ended the second quarter with a 42-36 advantage. By the end of the third quarter, the Tiger Sharks still had a nine-point lead. In the first minutes of the final quarter, they widened the score and eventually grabbed the 79-61 victory. San Pedro Tiger Sharks’ victory was led by Martevious Adams, who had the game high with 26 points, and seven rebounds, while Jihad Wright tallied 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals. Kurt ‘Chengo’ Burgess finished with 15 rebounds. Hurricanes’ Nigel Jones netted 20 points along with 13 rebounds and three steals. Matthew Young also contributed to the Hurricanes’ battle on the court with 16 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to claim the victory.
That same day, Dangriga Dream Ballers hosted their last regular season game as they hosted Orange Walk Running Rebels in Dangriga Town in southern Belize. The Running Rebels played hard against the home team and by half time they were only trailing by three points. In the second half of the match, they kept that close gap but were unable to close or jump it. At the end of the final quarter, the Dangriga Dream Ballers edged the visiting team with a tight 72-70 final score.
The upcoming games will be crucial, and if San Pedro Tiger Sharks want to clinch the #3 seed for the playoffs, they must win their upcoming game. Currently, the island team is in third place in the NEBL standings with a total of 18 points.
The upcoming games are as follow:
Wednesday, April 17th- Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes vs. Belize City Defenders at the Civic Centre
Thursday, April 18th- San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs. Verdes at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town.
Both games begin at 8:30PM.


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