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Regional rivalries go to Defenders, Tigersharks, Griga and Verdes

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020. 5:50 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Four exciting regional rivalry games played out in the National Elite Basketball League at the weekend.

The first ‘Battle of the City’ went to Digi Defenders over Benny’s Hurricanes, 83-69, as the guard combo of Devin Daly and Nigel Jones outplayed the taller Hurricanes frontline of Jamell Harris, Jamaal Samuel, Alex Carcamo, and Darwin Carter.

Defenders built a 15 to 20 point lead, aided by the Hurricanes’ mistakes, miscues and misfiring. Trailing by 21 in the third, the three-guard line-up of Darwin Carter and Ian Rene mostly alongside either starter Ashton Edwards or Jamal Kelly closed the gap to 64-55 at the end of the third for the Hurricanes. But Defenders’ backcourt of Daly, Shaq Crawford and Mykeil Tzul, assisted on the defensive end by Ty Bradley and Greg Rudon closed the win.

Mykeil Tzul was sensational hitting three of four timely three-pointers just when his team seemed to need it most, adding the sauce to Nigel Jones’ cooking on both ends, in a 22-point, 16 rebound effort. Shane Page added 10 points and 10 rebounds (and stellar defense) against the Hurricanes’ distinctly taller frontcourt.

Down south, Griga Dream Ballers got into the winning column against the Punta Gorda Panthers at home, 78-71. Griga was led by Edgar Mitchell who knotted a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 12 dimes while Quinton Bowen scored 17 points and Delvon Henderson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Punta Gorda Panthers was led by D’Von Campbell who had the game-high with 27 points while Jevonte Hughes was the only other player in double figures with 16 points and 8 rebounds.

On Saturday night the defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks hosted Orange Walk Running Rebels, getting their second consecutive victory, 91 – 75. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by Jihad Wright who had the game-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds, 7 steals and 5 assists, with a whopping 40% efficiency rate. Antone Robinson Jr. tallied 20 points and 17 rebounds while Martevious Adams finished with 20 points and 10 boards. Francis Arana’s stat line included 11 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while Kurt Burgess finished with 11 rebounds. Roger Reneau was the high man for Orange Walk Running Rebels with 21 points and 8 rebounds while Shaquille Stokes had his best game of the season with 19 points and 5 steals. Dajuan Cooper finished with 15 points.

And out west on Friday, Verdes was able to secure the 67- 57 victory, leading all the way against Belmopan Bandits. Verdes was led by last year’s MVP, Kris Frazier who lodged a double-double with 21 points and the game-high 18 rebounds while Tyrone Hall had his best offensive output for this season with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Devin Thomas finished with 12 rebounds and 7 points. Khalil Jabbie from Belmopan Bandits was the top scorer in the game with 26 points to go with 3 steals and 3 rebounds and he was the only player in double figures for his squad. Richard Smith III finished the night with 9 boards and 8 points.

Valentine’s Friday sees Orange Walk Running Rebels vs. Belmopan Bandits at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex at nine p.m. On Saturday, Defenders host Panthers at the Civic at 8 p.m., and at 9:15 p.m. on the island, the Tigersharks welcome Dangriga Dream Ballers.

(Our thanks to Glenn Tillett and NEBL Commissioner Karim Juan for their reporting.)

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