The Port Arthur News
For just the second time in the last 12 games, the Nederland boys basketball team lost.
This time, it was also the third straight time the Bulldogs fell to district rival Beaumont Ozen, as the Panthers held on for a 66-59 victory over Nederland at the Dog Dome on Friday.
Nederland beat Ozen at home last year, but dropped the next two, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Friday’s loss was also the first in district play for Nederland (18-7, 4-1).
“We played a lackluster first half,” Nederland head coach Brian English said. “I thought we came out real good. They punched us and we didn’t punch back. It’s the same thing. We’ve been through it before. (Ozen) did a good job tonight. We just didn’t get it done.”
Nederland opened the game on a 9-1 run, but the Ozen offense quickly got going at that point. Guards Jordan Hunter, Jared Hunter and Demasters Sam were able to drive for quick baskets or kick it back outside for 3-pointers.
Jordan Hunter, in particular, had a big night, hitting three of his team’s five 3-pointers in the first half. Ozen erased Nederland’s lead and outscored the Bulldogs 39-17 after falling behind early. One of Hunter’s 3-pointers came from well behind the arc and another hit home as Nederland’s Colton Kimler was fully extended in the air in his face.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs were outrebounded 9-1 and outscored 23-12, which is why English had some pointed words for his team at halftime, with Ozen leading 40-26.
“They shot some outside shots and got some long rebounds,” English said. “But, I don’t think we’re ever going to win another rebounding war against a good team. We’re just not that big. If it’s that significant, we’re going to have to look at that.”
The Bulldogs roared back into the game in the second half, as Ozen switched to a “four corners” offense, where they passed the ball back and forth between a pair of guards up to eat clock. Nederland was able to force five turnovers in the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 16-9, by forcing Ozen to drive inside and dish the ball off in traffic.
They continued the comeback in the fourth, cutting Ozen’s lead to 59-57 after Nederland senior guard Zach English hit a huge 3-pointer to get the crowd back into the game. However, Nederland couldn’t close the gap any closer, letting a couple of free throw misses and fouls on the other end derail their efforts to tie the score or take the lead.
“I thought the kids got after it in the second half, put their heart into what they’re doing,” Brian English said. “You just can’t fall behind 14 points to a team like this.”
Zach English finished the game with 22 points, scoring 18 in the second half. But, the story of the game for Nederland offensively was Colton Weisbrod. The junior post was a whirling dervish from the start, when he grabbed the tip from Ozen, took it to the 3-point arc before spinning inside for an easy layup.
He scored 12 points in the opening quarter and finished with 29 points, six rebounds, one assist and two steals.
Ozen’s Jordan Hunter had 20 points while Jared Hunter added 10. Christian Bolton had nine points and eight rebounds. Panther point guard Jakobi Jones didn’t score a basket, but did have seven assists, four steals and two rebounds.
Nederland will try to bounce back from the loss Tuesday when it travels to Lumberton at 7:30 p.m.
Beaumont Ozen 66, Nederland 59
Ozen 17 23 9 17 — 66
Nederland 14 12 16 17 — 59
NED: Colton Weisbrod 29, Zach English 22, Jamiere Rodgers 2, Kirby Hanley 2, Colton Kimler 2, Diondre Frank 2.
OZEN: Jordan Hunter 20, Jared Hunter 10, Demasters Sam 8, Christian Bolton 9, Caleb Wright 7, Kourtney Williams 5, Ryan Haynes 3, Charleston Brydson 2, Alex Williams 2.
Statistics: Rebounds — Nederland 11 (Weisbrod 6); Ozen 20. Assists — Nederland 4; Ozen 10 (Jones 7). Steals — Nederland 5 (Weisbrod, Hanley 2); Ozen 4 (Jones 4). Turnovers — Nederland 9, Ozen 13. Fouls — Nederland 21, Ozen 21. 3-pointers made — Nederland 5 (English 3, Weisbrod 2); Ozen 5 (Hunter 3, Sam, Haynes).
Records: Nederland (18-7, 4-1); Ozen (12-9, 4-1).
Next: Nederland at Lumberton, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.