by Glenn Tillett
San Pedro, Sat. April 6th
San Pedro Tigers Sharks drove a stake into the Belmopan Bandits playoff hopes here at the Angel Nunez claustrophobic basketball court tonight, routing the visitors 104-68. And it wasn’t even as close as the final score either.
The young Bandits shorthanded without their big man American import Jevonte Hughes were hapless as Martevuius Adams, after missing his first three shots, methodically put up around 20 points and grabbed 8 boards by my count while altering several shots even if several times he did not bother to lumber past half court. I think playing on cement sucks the enthusiasm for running end to end out of big guys.
Kurt Burgess and Tyronne Edwards also gave the Sharks half game worth of effort and clearly that was more than enough. Edwards superb piloting of the bench won’t show up in the box score, but they enthusiastically finished running the Bandits out of the gym in the fourth quarter under his on-court leadership.
See, in the second quarter perhaps looking for a spark Bandits coach Abdulaziz Sanderson went to a small line-up and the Sharks threw Adams, Burgess, and Edwards on the court and feasted, blowing open a lackluster affair to a 20-point lead.
The air was then completely blown out of the Bandits balloon in the fourth as Tyrone Edwards superbly orchestrated the bench to nearly double that lead.
The Bandits are going to be a good team when they get some veteran on-court leadership, some height in the frontcourt and some practiced offensive sets. You are going to be on the wrong side of a lopsided score when you have more turnovers than assists.
At the end of the third quarter, I saw on Facebook that the Hurricanes had lost to the Griga Dream Ballers 66-60 on the road but the second night of a back to back for Griga.
The chances are that one of the two Belize City teams won’t make the playoffs, and last night Bandits loss made the chances that neither of the Belize City teams would make the playoffs a bit more remote.
Home court advantage is real, but I get the impression that while the district teams like playing at the Civic by the Riva the City teams don’t travel and play well in the smaller “bandbox’ stadiums.
The Hurricanes and the Defenders hit the road next Friday and Saturday nights respectively in playoff determining games against Orange Walk and San Pedro.
Their regular-season finale at the Civic by the Riva the following Thursday, April 18th will likely be a 2018 NEBL tournament swan song for one of them.