May 4, 2019
by Karim Juan
On Friday night the #1 seed going into the playoffs, Verdes, was faced in a must-win game as they travelled to Belize City to take on the defending champions Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes at the Belize Civic Center. As this rivalry continues to magnify, the level of excitement welcomed all fans who made it out to the Civic Center to witness this match-up. At the end of the first quarter the game was knotted at 15 points, with the loss of back-up point guard from Verdes, Lisaney Lambey who had to be carried off the court with an arm injury. In the second quarter Clency “Coope” Lopez suffered an ankle injury and was forced to leave the game for an extended period of time. At intermission the home squad, Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes had a razor thin lead, 36 – 35, where the first 20 minutes of play was defined by physicality and toughness. At the end of the third quarter Verdes jumped out to a 63 – 56 lead, which was later extended to 10 points. However, Hurricanes defensive intensity forced Verdes to cough up some crucial turnovers, giving Hurricanes a 1 point lead down the stretch. With 9.3 seconds remaining on the clock, Verdes’ Leroy Louriano sank the game winning shot from behind the three point arc to give the visitors the win. Richard Troyer was the top scorer for the game with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while this year’s regular season MVP Kris Frazier tallied 19 points and 9 rebounds. Elsworth Itza finished the game with 12 boards and 9 points while Elvis Usher Jr. stat line was 9 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds. Devin Daly was the top scorer for Belize Hurricanes with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals while Tyrie Orosco had another huge game off the bench with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Eyan Rene finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 dimes and 3 steals for the Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes. The third and decisive game 3 now moves out west this coming weekend, as the winner will advance to the NEBL finals.