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Jun 26, 1998

Belize shoots for gold in CARICOM basketball

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If Thursday night’s semi-final round of the CARICOM Basketball Tournament was the refiners fire for the Belize National Male Team, then tonight’s championship match should add even more luster to those gold medals that the team’s eyes are fixed on. But the Belizeans know that as in any sports, it’s never wise to count the hoops before they hit the net and so they’re not at all taking tonight’s outing against the Bajans lightly. James Adderley has a preview in tonight’s Shell CARICOM Report.

Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to the Shell CARICOM Report. The semi-final round of the fourteenth CARICOM Basketball Championships erupted at the City Centre last night as the four remaining participants continued their quest for the gold.

On the female side the number two seed Jamaica finds itself up by 15 points with 5:38 to go in the ballgame against the number three seed Barbados. Melinda McClean answers for Barbados with a left move through the middle. Barbados points the ball down low as Astrid Best gives them two more points. Sonia Burke then beats the Jamaican defense down court.

Time is gaining and the Jamaicans go on to win by 10 and make it into the goal medal game on the female side. They’ll be matched up with undefeated and number one seed Bahamas who needed over time in getting pass Guyana 63 to 61. Guyana and Barbados play for the bronze today.

So now we go to the semi-final showdown on male side as Barbados battles Bahamas to get into the championship game. The Barbadians came out firing. Point guard Ryan Leecock pulls up and hits. But it’s Bahamas coming right back with their big man Dexter Cambridge and we have championship basketball at the City Centre. When Hall and Michael Wilson combine for these 2 points, team Bahamas boasts a 9-point lead. At the other end Sidney Rowe takes Xhingo Nichols down low – gets the shot plus the foul. Victor Payne gives his team 2 more points with this jam. Still at the half it’s Bahamas up by 8.

In second half Dexter Cambridge extends the lead for Bahamas to 10. But here comes the run of the Bajans. Slick Sidney Rowe takes Cambridge to school. Nigel Lloyd pulls up in Ricardo Pierre’s face to swish in a big 3-point shot. It’s Lloyd again for 3 as Barbados takes the lead in money time. And when Michael Wilson hits this bucket for Barbados, it effectively shuts the door on the Bahamas who loses 83-75 and Barbados moves into the gold medal game. This brings the question, who joins Barbados in the gold medal game tonight.

So we move into the other semi-final match up in the night and it’s a totally different atmosphere. And if you’re a Belizean this picture complete with flags makes us all feel proud to be part of this jewel. But its CARICOM basketball at center stage and as M.C. Gordon would say, let’s get busy.

On Belize’s first possession super guard Milton Palacio simply takes it straight to the hole and the City Centre crowd raves its approval. Alex Carcamo deals to Claude “Too Tall” Jones who goes to the glass for 2. And after five minutes it’s only a 6-zip lead in favor of Belize which translates into a low scoring ballgame. Simpliss and Palacio then combine their talents for 2 and early it’s all Belize. It’s Rumeal Robinson who hits this 3 for J.A. At the other end Palacio relays to Alex Carcamo and the 2 is automatic. Milton Palacio then shapes the alley hoop for Carcamo who converts and at the half, the low score reads 25-16 for Belize.

We go to second half and the intensity builds. The pressure affects Keith Acosta but Carcamo comes to the rescue. Palacio raises just inside the 3-point line to strike for 2 – he would finish with the game high of 24. But here comes the Jamaicans. The low pass to Sean Morgan and he gives them 2. The rip on Carcamo, the press down court to Sean Morgan and again it’s an easy 2.

Only down by 1 with 9 minutes to go now the Jamaican fans in the house love it. It’s this reverse by Ricky Parks that gives Jamaica the lead with some 6 minutes to go. Of course when the going gets rough, the tough gets going so Milton Palacio steps up. Then Olin Simpliss steps up to knock down the biggest 3 pointer of the ball game. And with 1:29 remaining it’s tied at 49 a piece.

After Simpliss had given Belize a 2 point lead from the charity stripe Carcamo finds Palacio down low and the 2 brings maximum noise to the City Centre. And then Milton Palacio puts it out of reach from the free throw line and Belize wins 58-52 and now faces Barbados for the gold tonight while Jamaica will battle Bahamas for the bronze.

Q: “What was the key ingredient for the Belizean win tonight?”

Olin Simpliss, Guard, Belize

“We stayed active basically; we played hard on our match-up zone. That guy Julian Dunkly is a great ball player and we kept our focus on him; I don’t think he had double figures tonight. That was our main focus: focussing on him on offense and then rebound and I think we did a hell of a job on the boards today. That was the main ingredient.

We didn’t score that well in the first half. We had opportunities to blow them out the water; they were stuck in 9 for a long time but at the same time we were stuck at 21. We played solid “D” and that’s what gave us this ballgame. Offense may not be there every night but you can play defense for forty minutes.”

Q: “How do you rate this win for the entire tournament?”

Olin Simpliss

“Oh men, this is the biggest win. We going to the goal and tomorrow is going to be a bigger win.”

Milton Palacio, Guard, Belize

“Guys played with heart; I can’t even talk enough about these guys on my team. They just played their heart out and I’m so happy. All praise to the team and the country and I’m so proud and I’m glad that we can do this for the country and get them a lot of recognition. I’ll try to win the one tomorrow and bring the house down.”

Q: “When they broke that 49-49 tie late in money time were you concerned?”

Milton Palacio

“I was a little concerned because I saw guys start putting their heads down and didn’t start believing in themselves and I tried to tell them, look we’ve been here before, it’s no problem, and just play hard, get a win and try to get us the hell out of here.”

Q: “Dave, again you were tested tonight; you came through. Where does the credit go?”

David Greenwood, Head Coach, Belize Male Team

“The credit always goes to the players because the coaching just puts it together but it’s the players that have to execute the game. We didn’t play well today; we did a lot of things that I’m not really proud of but the most important thing was the win.”


“I’ve never seen a team with so many turnovers. This is the first game I saw with so many turnovers.”

David Greenwood

“Oh men, it was like a nightmare; I’m watching this reoccurring nightmare. We were throwing the ball away because the ball was slipping; it had a lot of perspiration on it and we kept telling the referees to wipe the ball down; they wouldn’t wipe it down and every time the players would make a pass it slipped.”

Q: “The last time we spoke you told me that yes, you don’t have a crystal ball; you’re not sure if Belize gonna win. However we’re now facing Barbados, a surprising victory over Bahamas, what are the odds in Belize’s favor for the goal tomorrow?”

David Greenwood

“Once again, I’m not an odds maker. The scariest team in the whole tournament, to me, was Barbados because I predicted that Barbados was going to beat the Bahamas team. All of my coaches told me that I was crazy, because since we beat them they have gotten better each and every game. And they are very scary to me watching because they are small, they’re quick and they never quit. They always play hard.”


“We know it’s not going to be a walk over tomorrow.”

David Greenwood

“No way.”

It’s a great moment in Belizean basketball history and this has been the Shell CARICOM Report.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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