, Port Arthur, Texas

January 18, 2014

Dogs down No. 1 Jags 59-55

Larry Bodin
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — On a basketball court, when you’re a heavy underdog, the keys to victory are grit and determination, turning on the attack mode, while tossing in alot of heart, and sticking to the game plan.

Before a jammed-packed throng at Jaguar gym Friday night, Brian English’s battlin’ Nederland Bulldogs used each of the above to register one of the big wins in Nederland regular season history with a 59-55 shocker over No. 1-ranked Beaumont Central.

“We weren’t scared, we always believed we could play with them, and we did the little things. And in the end, our kids claimed the big prize,” said an estastic English in rousing Bulldog lockerroom.

“We executed the game plan almost to perfection. And not everybody gets to have one of these days like our kids did tonight.”

Nederland pulled even with Central in District 20-4A play at 6-1 and win for the 11th time in 12 games to improve to 17-6 on the year. English told his charges that it’s always great to beat the No. 1 team in the state, but to do it on their own court makes the win that much more special.

“Our players are growing up together at the perfect time of the year,” stated English, who is now 65-13 in district play the past five plus seasons.

Against a team like Central, who has so much athleticism together with a 6-8, 6-7, and 6-4 frontline and a bunch of other long and lean 6-4 jumping jacks, a win like this for a Nederland team that lacks size on the inside is extraordinary.

Remember this is a Bulldog team that just one week ago dropped a one-point heartbreaker against Beaumont Ozen, then the No. 2 Class 4A team in the state.

Not a bad week at all for English’s crew.

In one of the more competitive high school basketball games you’ll ever hope to see, Nederland’s undersized ‘Dogs literally took the fight to Central from the opening bell and never let off the pedal.

Although 6-2 senior Colton Kimler managed just  six points, the Most Valuable Player on the Port Arthur News’ football Super Team this season battled, scraped, banged and fought players three and four inches taller than him for position and rebounds all night long before fouling out with a just under two minutes to play.

Kimler’s rugged play was symbolic of how hard this entire Nederland team played for 32 minutes Friday night.    

But with future New Orleans coach and former Lamar University standout Kenyon Spears in attendance, 6-5 senior Colton Weisbrod was a man on a mission. On this night, this kid would not be denied.

Weisbrod, who battled the trees of Central on the inside all night, was simply sensational. Scoring 31 points, including a superb 14-of-15 from the free throw line, he also added 11 rebounds against the taller Central front line.

“Our game plan was to attack, and that’s what we did all night,” said the UNO signee.

The Nederland standout scored 11 points in the first, seven in the second, seven points in the third. and six Besides battling the much taller Jaguars on the boards tooth-and-nail for the entire contest, the Bulldogs won this game at the free throw line canning an amazing 25-of-29 free throws attempts.

They outshot the state’s No. 1 ranked team from the field. Nederland was 17-of-36 (47.2 percent) from the floor, while Central was just 20-of-53 for 37.7 percent.

In a thrilling fourth quarter which saw six lead changes, with Central leading 55-54 with 0:44 left, Nederland sophomore guard Garrett Ary made one of the biggest plays of the year as he stole the ball at mid-court and fired it to a driving senior Tyler Toon, who made beautiful music with a soft left-handed layup giving Nederland a 56-55 lead with only 0:39 ticks of the clock remaining.

Central’s Dominique Harrison, who had three triples and a team leading 15 points, threw up a long three that was short and went out of bounds. Central immediately fouled sophomore Jaylan Ballou (who had 11 points) and the youngster calmly canned a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left pushing the Nederland lead to 58-55.

Diondre Frank put the nail in Central’s coffin hitting one-of-two from the line with just 0:02 left.

“I’ve never in my life made bigger free throws that those two with 0:10 second left. This is just amazing,” said Ballou.

NEDERLAND             16   12   14   18   -- 59

CENTRAL                  13   14   15   13   -- 55

  NEDERLAND (17-6, 6-1):   Colton Weisbrod 31, Jaylan Ballou 11. CENTRAL (19-3, 6-1): Dominique Harrison 15, E’Torrian Wilridge 10, Andre’ Morris 10.