The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
All three of the local boys basketball teams will be opening their playoff runs on Tuesday. Each has a tough matchup awaiting in bidistrict play, so let’s break down each opponent.
First up, the Port Arthur Memorial boys fell all the way into the fourth seed from District 21-5A after losing to Beaumont West Brook in the seaosn’s penultimate game.
That put them squarely in the crosshair of a dangerous Pearland (26-8) squad ranked No. 19 in the state. After starting out slowly with an 8-6 record in non-district play, Pearland has gone 18-2 since then and beaten No. 23 Manvel twice.
The Oilers are averaging 60.3 points per game while allowing 48.6 points per game. In the last ten games, Pearland has improved on both of those averages, raising its points per game to 63.1 and lowering its points allowed to 42 per game.
The Oilers are led by 6-foot-8 senior Cameron Reynolds, who is averaging 15 points per game. The small forward committed to Tulane last November and is part of a huge front line for Pearland. Nine different players are listed at 6-foot-3 or taller for the Oilers, including all three of the team’s leading scorers.
In addition to Reynolds, the team is led by 6- 7 Jay Hedgeman, who’s averaging 14.8 points per game, and 6- 5 senior Brandon Snead, who is averaging 16 points per game. Pearland’s other two starters are 6- 4 senior Keith Lawson and 6 -4 Cameron Juniel.
Last season, Pearland finished as the fourth-place team from District 24-5A and was paired with Fort Bend Travis in the first round. The Harrison Twins and Travis beat Pearland 78-55 before taking down Memorial 60-45 in the area round.
Pearland hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010, when the Oilers knocked off North Shore 57-56 in bidistrict play before losing to Travis in the area round.
Crosby will be talented test for PN-G
The Port Neches-Groves Indians are making a trip to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, but for just the fourth time in 50 years. They’ll try to make that trip last a little longer by taking on the Crosby Cougars (27-6, 15-1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Goose Creek Memorial.
It’s a tall task, as Crosby sprinted to the finish line in 2013 to earn a share of the district title with Humble. Crosby won its last 11 games after falling 45-43 to the Wildcats on Jan. 2. On the season, the Cougars are averaging 59.5 points per game and allowing 49 points per game.
Over that 11 game winning streak, those averages move to 62.6 points scored per game and 44.3 points allowed per game. During that streak, the Cougars set a season-high for points scored in a 77-58 victory over C.E. King.
The Cougars are led by 5-foot-10 senior guard T.J. Stewart, who is averaging just under 20 points per game. Stewart was named Newcomer of the Year two years ago in District 19-4A and won the district MVP last season. Last year, the Cougars also shared the district title and went to the area round of the playoffs, knocking off Little Cypress-Mauriceville 48-40 before falling 54-45 to Kingwood Park.
PN-G (12-18, 7-7) will need big games from both A.J. Smith and Brandon Pham. The 6-foot-5 Smith is averaging 14.5 points per game in his last four while Pham is averaging 17.2. PN-G is averaging 57 points per game over its last three and giving up 47 points per game. The 83 points the Indians scored in a season finale victory over Livingston were a season high.
The last time PN-G was in the playoffs, the Indians lost 53-47 to Crosby in the bidistrict round of the playoffs.
Humble features size, shooting
Nederland couldn’t get over the hump against Beaumont Central in district play, but the Bulldogs open their second season Tuesday looking to prove they belong. Nederland (25-9, 11-3) won six of its last seven games, but fell to the third seed from District 20-4A after losing to Central 48-38 to end the regular season.
That put them in a tough bidistrict matchup against the Humble Wildcats. Humble (28-8, 15-1) won a share of a second straight district title this season and will play the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at East Chambers as part of a double-header with Beaumont Ozen playing Humble Summer Creek at 6 p.m.
Humble beat Crosby in the first half of district play, but lost a tight game to the Cougars at the end of the season to fall into a first-place tie. The two then flipped for seeding, with Crosby drawing the top seed and Humble drawing the Bulldogs.
Humble is averaging 57.6 points per game this season and allowing 48.4 points per game. However, those averages have fallen a bit in district play. Over the last ten games, the Wildcats are only scoring 54.5 points per game, but their defense has improved, as they are only allowing 44.4 points per game.
The Wildcats are led in scoring by guard Travon Collins, who is averaging 21 points per game. A dead-eye shooter, Collins moved into the Humble school district last summer from the Midland area. Humble also features a 6-foot-7 senior center in Kyndhal Hill, who is committed to Weber State.
All five of Humble’s starters averaged at least 10 points a game heading into district play. That consistency helped the Wildcats rebound from losing most of its starting five to graduation last year after reaching the third round of the playoffs.
Nederland last played Humble in the 2011 playoffs, when the Bulldogs beat the Wildcats 51-49 in the regional quarterfinals. Humble was in District 18-4A then and beat Magnolia West and C.E. King before falling to Nederland.