PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 4, 2013

PREP HOOPS NOTEBOOK: District 21-5A girls title down to the wire

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

— Things are getting a bit crowded at the top for District 21-5A’s girls teams. North Shore, Channelview and Port Arthur Memorial are all tied at 9-2 with one game left to play. The three schools have all split with each other, meaning they’re headed for a three-way tie for the district lead.

That means Memorial (25-5, 9-2) could end up as the top seed from 21-5A or could fall all the way down to third, depending on the tiebreaker methods. On Monday, Memorial head coach Kevin Henry shed some light on what those scenarios could be.

“We’re meeting on Wednesday if everyone wins on Tuesday night,” Henry said. “We’ll decide everything at that point.”

Though nothing can be decided until after the teams meet, expect there to be a two-tiered tiebreaker playoff, with one of the three teams receiving a bye and then playing the winner of the first tiebreaker game. District bylaws state that the teams must have playoff seeding determined by Saturday, but give the teams some leeway on when to schedule tiebreaker games. They could play on Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday, as long as the seeding has been decided by the deadline.

If Memorial beats Baytown Sterling on Tuesday, the girls would clinch a second-straight district championship. If Channelview beats La Porte, the Lady Falcons will clinch a share of their first-ever district title.

Game of the Week

Nederland at Beaumont Ozen – Though their offense left them in a tough slugfest against Port Neches-Groves Friday, the Nederland Bulldogs have been on a mission in the second half of district play. The Bulldogs are playing really well and seem confident and excited about Tuesday’s rematch with Beaumont Ozen.

If Nederland can escape Beaumont with a victory, the Bulldogs will be one step closer to a fourth straight district title. They’d also set up at least a second-place tie with Beaumont Ozen, leaving the teams to either flip or play a tiebreaker game for the second seed in the playoffs.

Ozen has been on a similar roll in the second half, going 4-0 with victories over Central, Vidor, Livingston and LC-M. The Panthers have now won nine straight games and haven’t lost since a 76-73 loss in the James Gamble Classic finals.

PN-G boys still in playoff hunt

For the first time all season, the Port Neches-Groves boys basketball team finds itself on the outside looking into the playoff race. After a 43-31 loss to Nederland Friday, the Indians are a game behind Lumberton for fourth place with three to play. The Raiders won 41-37 in overtime at Livingston Friday to move a game ahead of PN-G.

However, the Indians have winnable games at home vs. Vidor and Livingston straddling a road trip to Ozen. Lumberton hosts LC-M on Tuesday in a game where the Raiders should be the favorite before playing playoff teams in Nederland and Ozen to close the season.

If Pat Abel’s Indians go 2-1 down the stretch and Lumberton goes 1-2, the two teams will end the season tied for fourth. Abel said he hasn’t thought ahead enough to tiebreaker scenarios, but in past situations like this, the two teams have played a tiebreaker game. If that’s the case, Feb. 15 may be PN-G’s date with playoff destiny, as that’s the Friday following the final regular season game.

Seahawks establishing a presence in the community

Visit a home game at one of the local high schools this season and you’re might just see LSCPA head coach Lance Madison or assistant coach Chad Kish. If you’re really lucky, you might see the entire Seahawks team, which is what happened at Friday’s Mid-County Madness showdown between Port Neches-Groves and Nederland at the Dog Dome.

After Madison was hired, he talked about wanting to connect his team with the community. So far, Madison is doing just that, as he’s been very present around the area and is trying to establish relationships with coaches and fans.

Of course, he might have just been trying to scout someone like Nederland senior Zach English or junior Colton Weisbrod.  However, when Nederland head coach Brian English was asked about that earlier this season, he said, “I think they just like watching good basketball and want to be part of the community.”

How low can you go?

The next time you’re watching  a low-scoring high school game, be thankful you weren’t in Franklin a couple of weeks ago. The Centerville girls, ranked No. 7 in the state, knocked off No. 8 Franklin 9-5. That’s not a typo. I didn’t miss a zero here or there. The two teams combined to score 14 points in a regulation game.

After Centerville hit a 3-pointer with 2:47 left in the first quarter to go up 7-4, the Lady Tigers held the ball, then held it some more, then held it some more, until finishing the game by hitting a pair of free throws with 9.8 seconds left.

What’s more interesting is that the strategy of holding the ball came from Franklin head coach John Shelton and not from Centerville. My friend and former colleague David Campbell had the best line in his game story the next day:

“To say that most of the game was played at a snail's pace would insult snails.”

Touche, David. Touche.

David Coleman covers high school sports for the Port Arthur News. He can be reached at dcoleman@panews.com or on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.