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Belize City Basketball is Alive Again ‘Coope’ Claims Ownership of the Fabulous Civic Center Print E-mail
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Written by By Shane Williams   
Thursday, 03 May 2018 00:00

Two of Belize’s all-time great basketball icons laced up their sneaks to play in the official opening and first ever semi-pro game at the new Belize City Civic Center on Monday, May 30, but at the end of the night it was a young phenom who stole the show when he ripped the torch out of a legend’s hands in a 20 point rout.

Over 4,000 Belizeans made it out to the opening of the new Belize City Civic Center and all they could talk about after the game, other than the magnificent facility itself, was 20-year-old Glency “Coope” Lopez. Coope lit Civic on fire with a barrage of long range missiles and swift attacks that rendered ‘Defenders’ powerless. Darwin “Puppy” Leslie put up his best efforts to keep the Digicell Defenders in the game. Leslie has been the face of Belize basketball for several years and is the current and only ever King of the National Elite Basketball League. However, Lopez is widely accepted as the heir to the throne and he did his best to convince everyone in attendance on Monday that the future is now!

The Hurricanes separated themselves from the Defenders early in the first quarter with swarming defense and an assault on the paint. Brian “Beso” White recorded the first ever basket in the Civic with a signature put back layup. The Defenders turned over the ball several times in the early minutes of the game. Most of the turnovers were unforced. This sparked a lot of questions in the stand about the whereabouts of sharp shooting guard Jacob “Snake” Leslie. He draws attention from the defense that prevents them from applying as much ball pressure on the point guards. No one answer could be provided for that question but it was clear that the Defenders really missed the vet’s presence. Without Leslie the floor spacing was poor and Hurricanes were able to crowd the paint. It was ugly to watch for Defenders fans. The third quarter was especially excruciating as Coope dropped threes after threes and outright embarrassed defenders who dared to step up to him. He showed off a killer crossover that drew “OOhs” and “Ahs” from the massive crowd.

The game was over after the 3rd quarter when Coope scored double digits in the frame to finish the game with 30 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 0 turnovers on 11 for 18 from the field and 6 for 8 from beyond the BelCan Bridge. White finished with 15 points and 11 boards on 7 for 9 from the field. Darwin Leslie finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists but had a game high 5 turnovers as he was left with no choice but to force the action for his team. Nigel Jones, the foreign player for Defenders, finished with an impressive 21 points and 12 boards. However, he shot an inefficient 8 for 18 from the floor and was a -10 points when on the floor.

The future bodes well for Belize basketball and the Hurricanes-Defenders match was a perfect game to open the facility as the last three eras of the sport was featured. The other legend featured was “Superman” Keith Acosta who played 9 minutes but did not register in the scoring column. Leslie took the torch from Superman who now serves as a mentor on Hurricanes to Coope and other young talents. Both teams have already secured playoff spots so there is the possibility of Puppy delivering when it actually counts and slow down the young phenom. The Civic is a gem and basketball in the city is Back!!!