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Jan 30, 2023

The Belize Elite Basketball League Returns; Mia Sylvester Continues to Break Records in Shot Put

Welcome back to our second edition of Sports Monday for 2023, I am Paul Lopez. The National Elite Basketball League is back, but under a new name, the Belize Elite Basketball League, with Jacob Leslie, the President of the Belize Basketball Federation at the helm. It’s been almost three years since basketball has been played in Belize at the elite level, so fans were excited at news of its return. And, the first three games for the 2023 season over the last weekend did not disappoint.  On Friday night it was Devon Daly’s Belize City Defenders against Edgar Mitchell and the Griga Dream Ballers inside the Belize City Civic Center. Defender’s Nigel Jones played an explosive thirty-five minutes. He gave fans a show while putting twenty-nine points on the score board to lead his team to victory. Captain Devin Daly’s contribution was just as remarkable. He played thirty-six minutes and dropped twenty points.

But, the Griga Dream Ballers is not a team to be slept on, with a sharp shooter like D’von Campbell looking for any open opportunity to bank a three-pointer. Campbell played the most minutes in the entire game which translate into twenty-six points. In the end, the Belize City Defenders successfully defended the city, defeating their opponents eighty-two to seventy points. Games were played on Saturday night as well. The Western Ballaz went up against the Orange Walk Running Rebels inside a packed Sacred Heart Auditorium in San Ignacio Town.  While the Punta Gorda Panthers sought to defend their home court against the Belize Hurricanes at home. Hurricanes dominated that game, defeating the Panthers ninety points to sixty-nine. The season continues this Friday with the Belize Hurricanes taking on the San Pedro Tiger Sharks.


There is also a bit of controversy brewing in the Belize Elite Basketball League. So, player Kirk Smith Jr. signed contracts to play with two teams for the 2023 BEBL season. He first signed a contract with the Defenders back in December 2022 and later on in January 2023 signed a second contract with the Hurricanes. Now, clearly he can’t play for both teams. According to official documentation, the matter was taken to the Office of the Commissioner of the BEBL where three options were presented. One, Smith could play for the first team he signed with, two the Hurricanes could seek a waiver for Smith from the Defenders, and three Smith would be suspended. The Defenders and Hurricanes could not find common ground, so the Commission went with the third option. Smith is now suspended from the league for a year. B.B.F. President, Jacob Leslie has informed us that the Hurricanes are appealing the Commission’s decision. Smith is a Belize National Team player and we will have to wait to find out how this one plays out.


Now, on to some encouraging sports news, Belize’ very own eighteen-year- old Mia Sylvester, who recently began an athletic scholarship at the University of Idaho, won her first college Shot Put meet. Sylvester showed why she is one of the best at the discipline in Central America, by throwing a personal best of fourteen point eleven meters, smashing her previous record of thirteen point seven-five meters. Here is a look at her throw from the Inland Northwest Invitational on Saturday that amounted to her first win.


On Sunday, the Belize Canoe Association held its third race for 2023, the Upstream Race. Paddlers took on the grueling Belize River route upstream from the Haulover Bridge on the boundary of Belize City to the Seguro’s water side in Burrell Boom Village. A total of thirteen teams took on the challenge in various categories, including masters, juniors, intramural, and mixed. It was a tight finish folks, as team PACT and team Guava Limb battled it out near the finish line in Burrell Boom for the first prize. Team PACT would however out-muscle and outmaneuver Guava Limb to claim the victory. Second place went to Guava Limb, while Coop Sheet Metal took home third place. Here is a look at those exhilarating finishes.


And, finally for tonight, the 2023 Sir Barry Bowen/ Harrison Parks T20 Masters Cricket Competition got on its way this weekend in Saint Paul’s Bank in the Belize River Valley. The first match of the 2023 season saw Saint Paul’s Strikers go up against Progress 11 in thirty overs. Progressive 11 was the first team to field. St. Paul’s Strikers had nineteen runs in the second over. By the twenty-second over, St Paul had one hundred and thirty-five runs. They ended the thirty-five overs with two hundred and fifty-six runs. During their thirty-five overs, Progressive 11 secured a total of seventy-eight points, giving them the victory. The competition continues next weekend.


And, that is all we have for you in this week’s edition of Sports Monday, until next week, have a safe one.

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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