The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
For a quarter, it looked like Port Neches-Groves was going to make this Mid-County Madness special and possibly pull off a big district upset.
But, Zach English’s 3-pointer at the buzzer in the first quarter gave Nederland a 12-11 lead that they never relinquished, rolling to a 66-54 victory over the Indians at PN-G’s Competition Gym on Tuesday.
English’s trey was just the beginning, as 12 of Nederland’s 14 shots in the second were from behind the arc, with the Bulldogs hitting five of them and turning a slim one-point lead into nine by halftime. English had four of his team’s first seven 3-pointers and finished the game with 22 points.
“My dad (Nederland head coach Brian English) always says keep shooting,” English said. “After you miss the first couple, eventually they’ll fall. Tonight, they did. After those first few shots, they started collapsing inside. After that, things opened up.”
PN-G very effectively shut down Nederland in the early going, employing a 2-3 zone to keep junior post Colton Wesibrod out of the paint and make it hard for the Bulldogs to get open looks on the perimeter.
Nederland was 1 for its first 5 3-pointers until English’s buzzer beater, but made 10 of the next 22. The Bulldogs also ended the first three quarters with treys at the buzzer. English had a well-rounded game, scoring a game-high 22 points while grabbing seven rebounds with three assists and a steal.
“Someone said (before the game) that you can run a good defense against Nederland for a quarter and then, they’ll figure it out,” PN-G head coach Pat Abel said. “They’re so dangerous with their weapons and they have so many of them. Sooner or later, they’ll pick you apart. You have to be able to change defenses. It’s tough. They’re a good ballclub. They do a lot of things that will eat you up.”
Nederland was as efficient in its scoring chances as it was effective. The Bulldogs finished with 17 assists and had 13 of them in the second and third quarters alone, when they scored 42 combined points. While English led the way in the second with nine points, Weisbrod took over in the third, scoring nine of his 15 total points in the third.
Kirby Hanley was a big reason for those gaudy assist totals, whipping the ball around the 3-point arc to open shooters in the second and third quarters. Hanley had six assists in the game and four of those came in the second quarter. The senior added six points, three rebounds and two steals.
The Bulldogs were also efficient at avoiding turnovers, giving it away just three times in the first three quarters. That’s something Brian English said the team has gotten better about over its last few games.
“We have been doing a good job lately of holding onto the ball, ” English, who is now 13-0 against PN-G as the Nederland boss, said. “(PN-G) did a good job with their zone, slowed us down a little bit. Luckily, we made some shots. It was a good win for us. Making shots is kind of contagious sometimes, not just with our team but with lots of teams. We just have to keep working and keep getting better.”
PN-G was able to cut Nederland’s lead to 63-54 with 34 seconds left in the game by outscoring the Bulldogs 22-10 in the fourth quarter. After a Nederland free throw miss, PN-G had two more chances to score inside, but missed both shots. English grabbed a rebound and was fouled. He hit both freebies to give Nederland a 65-54 lead.
While Nederland was mostly playing bench or role players, the Indians still showed some fight to cut it to a three possession game to that point.
“We talked to the kids in one of our last timeouts about not giving up,” Abel said. “No matter how bad it gets, play through it. Make something happen. Become a player. We responded and make a couple of shots finally. Now, Nederland had their subs in, but we forced them to put their starters back in, so that was kind of an accomplishment for us. They’re tough. You have to play well for four quarters to beat those guys.”
A.J. Smith fought Weisbrod to a draw inside, finishing with 17 points and holding Weisbrod under his season average in points. The two powerful posts even had a sequence where Smith blocked his shot and then had his own shot blocked by Weisbrod on the very next possession. Each player had nine rebounds.
PN-G’s Brandon Pham had 13 points, three assists and two steals while Bradley Geoffroy had 12 points and six rebounds.
PN-G falls to 7-13 and 2-2 in district play and will travel to Vidor at 7 p.m. Friday. Nederland (19-6, 4-0) will host Beaumont Ozen at 7 p.m. Friday.
Nederland 66, Port Neches-Groves 54
Ned 12 21 21 12 — 66
PN-G 11 12 9 22 — 54
NED: Zach English 22, Colton Weisbrod 15, Colton Kimler 10, Kirby Hanley 6, Jacob Landry 4, Jared Lorimier 3, Alex Taylor 3, Diondre Frank 2.
PN-G: A.J. Smith 17, Brandon Pham 13, Bradley Geoffroy 12, Ramil Glorioso 8, Jeremiah Rose 2, Eddie Cervantez 2.
Statistics: Rebounds — PN-G 28 (Smith 9); Nederland 31 (Weisbrod 9). Assists — PN-G 6 (Pham 3); Nederland 17 (Hanley 6). Steals — PN-G 3 (Pham 2); Nederland 7 (Hanley 2). Turnovers — PN-G 8, Nederland 5. Fouls — PN-G 13, Nederland 20. 3-pointers made — PN-G 5 (Glorioso 2, Geoffroy 2, Smith); Nederland 11 (English 5, Kimler 2, Taylor, Hanley, Frank, Landry).
Records: PN-G (7-13, 2-2 District 20-4A); Nederland (19-6, 4-0).
JV: Nederland 40-35.
Next: PN-G at Vidor, 7 p.m. Friday; Nederland hosts Ozen, 7 p.m. Friday