The Port Arthur News
The Woodlands —
Late in the first quarter, Nederland senior forward Jared Lorimier anticipated a Manor pass at the top the key, picked it off and sprinted untouched down the court.
He got high enough to easily dunk the ball but settled for a finger roll at the rim, putting the Bulldogs up 16-2 with less than three minutes to play.
Defense first with restraint was the theme of Nederland’s 67-55 victory over the Mustangs on Friday at College Park in a Class 4A area round playoff matchup.
The Bulldogs extended their streak of making the regional quarterfinals to four years and will face Georgetown Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
“Our kids came out with a lot of fire” Nederland head coach Brian English said. “The kids played together tonight as a unit and played great defense again. They’re still trying to get better. They did a good job of getting back into it, but we settled in, took care of the ball and got some easy shots.”
The Bulldog defense showed up early and often Friday. Nederland forced eight Manor turnovers in the first half and held the Mustangs to 30 percent shooting on 20 attempts.
After opening the game on a 9-0 and then a 16-2 run, the Bulldogs never led by less than seven again in the game.
“We maintained that lead for a long time,” English said. “That’s pretty good. It’s nice to have that cushion. You don’t feel so much pressure when you’re shooting the ball or making decisions with that lead.”
Lorimier was a big reason why Nederland grabbed that early lead, scoring seven points in the first quarter. The senior also provided Nederland another reliable scorer to complement junior post Colton Weisbrod and senior guard Zach English. Lorimier finished the game with 17 points, two rebounds, one assist and a steal.
Weisbrod was typically brilliant, scoring a game-high 25 points and adding 12 rebounds, one assist and a steal. English, meanwhile, poured in a quiet 18 points, adding three rebounds, one assist and a steal.
“It was Jamiere last game and Jared this game,” English said. “Someone has to step up. It’d be nice to have two of them next time. It was our kind of game, scoring-wise. We tell the kids to hold them around 50 points and we’ll be okay.”
Backup point guard Diondre Frank also had maybe his best game of the season. Frank had to go into the game in the first quarter when starting point guard Kirby Hanley rolled his ankle. Hanley returned to the game after getting his ankle taped, but Frank proved very capable of filing those minutes, scoring five points in the game.
The junior dribbled through a tough Manor pressure defense, as the Mustangs consistently pressured the ball handler both in the full court and half court. Frank, though, was able to break down the full court pressure and pass out of it while slashing and attacking the rim in the half court.
“Kirby got into some trouble early,” English said. “He got in there and kinda got the juices flowing a little bit. He just made good decisions. He’s getting better, which is good because we may need him down the line.”
That restraint Lorimier showed to open the game came in handy in the second half. As Nederland increased a 30-21 halftime lead to 49-26 by the fourth quarter, Manor grew increasingly chippy. The Mustangs picked up 18 fouls in the second half alone, including an intentional foul and half of a double technical.
The double-T was called when Weisbrod fouled Manor guard Tyler Ellis as he went to the rim. Weisbrod thought he got the ball, but Ellis flopped badly to the floor and stayed down for several minutes. With both sets of fans on their feet and yelling, the referees took about five minutes to talk it over before they assessed double technicals on players from both teams for chirping as Ellis lay on the ground.
The Bulldogs were never flustered by the physical play and fouls, as Nederland hit 10 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter and 20 of 28 for the game.
4A AREA BASKETBALL PLAYOFF ROUND
NEDERLAND 67, MANOR 55
MANOR 8 13 15 19 -- 55
NEDERLAND 18 12 19 18 -- 67
NED: Colton Weisbrod 25, Zach English 18, Jared Lorimier 17, Diondre Frank 5, Michael Shaw 2, Jamiere Rodgers 1.
MAN: Tyler Ellis 21, Christopher Johnson 11, Datrin Guyton 8, Rodney Molette 5, Darryl Lemear 4, Arthur Chambers 4.
Statistics – Rebounds: Nederland 29 (Weisbrod 12); Manor 26 (Ellis 6). Assists: Nederland 9 (Hanley 4); Manor 7 (Ellis, Chambers 2). Steals: Nederlnad 7 (Rodgers 2); Manor 5. Turnovers: Nederland 8, Manor 9. Fouls: Nederland 17, Manor 27. 3-pointers made: Nederland 3 (English, Lorimier 2); Manor 4 (Johnson 2, Molette, Ellis).
Records: Nederland (27-8); Manor (11-18).
Next: Nederland vs. Georgetown, Class 4A regional quarterfinals, Tuesday