Even though it’s mixing sports metaphors a bit, the matchup between the Nederland boys basketball team and Central on Tuesday felt like a 15-round heavyweight fight.
Both teams traded blow after blow with lots of contact and physical play inside. Neither team pulled away until the fourth quarter, when Central closed out its outright District 20-4A title with a 48-38 victory over Nederland.
The Bulldogs held Central to its fewest points since December 8, but couldn’t score enough to clinch a share of that district title for itself.
“Defensively, we played well in the first half,” Nederland head coach Brian English said. “We had a little letdown defensively in the second half. The triangle-2 hurt us. We did some things against them before that worked and they didn’t work tonight. We just didn’t get it done.”
Nederland falls into the third seed from 20-4A and will play 19-4A’s second place team. Both Crosby and Humble are tied for first from 19-4A and will decide a tiebreaker on Friday.
Central, meanwhile, wins the district title outright and takes the top seed from 20-4A. The Jaguars will play either C.E. King or Kingwood Park next week.
The Bulldog defense was strong again. Nederland held the Jags to just 50 points in the first matchup between the two teams. Central shot 18 of 42 from the floor, but started the game 6 for 22.
“We have to score,” English said. “The kids gave a great effort. The 50-50 balls went their way. We missed a few assignments boxing out tonight and they got a few putbacks. I thought that was a difference in the game.”
Reserve Jacob Landry gave Nederland a spark off the bench, hitting four 3-pointers and leading the Bulldogs with 14 points. No other Bulldog scored in double figures, as Jamiere Rodgers was the next-highest scorer with seven points.
“(Jacob) did a good job,” English said. “We hope he can keep that up during the playoffs. He’s been struggling a little bit in meaningful time during games. He’s hit some shots when the game is out of hand, but he did a good job in the meat of the game tonight of going out and knocking down some shots.”
Central did a great job of shutting down Nederland junior Colton Weisbrod in the post. By doubling him inside, the Jaguars limited the junior to five points and three rebounds. Weisbrod only attempted seven shots and two free throws in the game.
Teammate and second-leading scorer Zach English didn’t fare much better. The senior attempted just four shots in the game and scored two points.
Nederland had some early success by driving to the basket, as Jared Lorimier and Rodgers both got layups by cutting through the Jaguar zone.
However, once the Jags clamped down inside, Nederland’s 10-8 first quarter lead quickly dissipated. The Bulldogs tied it at 13-13 in the second quarter, but after Jacory Guillory answered Jared Lorimier’s 3-pointer that tied the score with a triple of his own.
That gave Central a 16-13 lead and the Jaguars never trailed again.
Central snapped Nederland’s streak of three straight district title shares with the loss and won it’s first outright title in almost a decade.
Beaumont Central 48, Nederland 38
Ned 10 5 11 12 — 38
Central 8 10 16 14 — 48
NED: Jacob Landry 14, Jamiere Rodgers 7, Jared Lorimier 6, Colton Weisbrod 5, Kirby Hanley 4, Zach English 2.
CENTRAL: Nijal Pearson 14, E’Torrian Wilridge 9, Andre’ Morris 6, Garrison Mitchell 5, Dominique Harrison 4, Jordan Stevens 4, Michael Jacquet 2, Jacory Guillory 3.
Statistics — Rebounds: Nederland 18 (Landry, Hanley 4); Central 31 (Wilridge 8). Steals: Nederland 2, Central 6 (Guillory 3). Turnovers: Nederland 10, Central 9. Fouls: Nederland 15, Central 12. 3-pointers made: Nederland 6 (Landry 4, Rodgers, Lorimier); Central 1 (Guillory).
Records: Nederland (25-9, 11-3); Central (26-5, 13-1).