Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2020. 9:07 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A three-game set this week for the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) has set up a marquee matchup for next week after wins for the Digicell Belize City Defenders and the San Pedro Tiger Sharks, who so far have been the class of the league.
The “hot” Defenders took a three-game win streak down South on Saturday to face the Punta Gorda Panthers. After the hosts took a narrow two-point lead after one quarter, Defenders ran out 18-7 in the second for a nine-point half-time lead which they later extended to thirteen, ultimately taking a 75-65 decision.
Luther Page led the Defenders with 22 points, 12 rebounds while Devin Daly tallied 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Nigel Jones posted another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Farron Louriano finished with 10 points and 4 boards. The Punta Gorda Panthers were led by Jevonte Hughes who netted 18 points to go with 6 caroms while Julien Travis sank 15 points and D’Von Campbell and Elvert Ariola chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively.
Both teams are going in opposite directions, with P.G. taking their third straight loss after winning their season opener, while the Defenders have gone unbeaten since losing to next week’s opponent Tiger Sharks in San Pedro.
And the defending champions prepared for that encounter by easily handling the visiting Griga Dream Ballers 93-56 on the island Saturday, leading all the way. Antone Robinson Jr. led all scorers with 17 points, 15 rebounds while Jihad Wright’s stat line was 16 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Martevious Adams scored 16 points and Winston Pratt finished with 12. Griga Dream Ballers’ top scorers were Edgar Mitchell and Donell Arzu who tallied 13 points each while Branden Sheppard and Vince Young chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively. With the loss, Griga Dream Ballers are now 1 – 3.
In other action, Orange Walk’s Running Rebels had no love for visitors Belmopan Bandits on Valentine’s night, recording a 94-86 win in a gritty contest that saw the visitors cut the lead to 4 and then 3 points late. The Sugar City crew were led by Brian White who had a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Dajuan Cooper also tallied a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Sidney Bradley chipped in 16 points while Roger Reneau and Isaiah Thomas finished with 12 and 11 points respectively. For the capital’s finest, point guard Khalil Jhabbie led all scorers with 27 points and 6 assists while Richard Smith III tallied 25 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Flowers finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. With the win Orange Walk Running Rebels is now 2 – 2 while Belmopan Bandits are 1 – 3, losing their last 2 games.
The game of the week is Defenders versus Tiger Sharks for the top spot in the NEBL at the Civic Center starting at 8:45 p.m. Friday night, February 21. Half an hour later in Belmopan, Bandits will host Benny’s Belize Hurricanes. On Saturday, Verdes face Griga in Cayo at 8 p.m., and in O.W. at 9 p.m. the Rebels welcome the Panthers.
(Our thanks to NEBL Commissioner Karim Juan for all game stats, which can be seen on their website http://nebl.web.geniussports.com)
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