Sixty is the magic number.
Nederland head coach Brian English tells his team their focus should be on holding teams to 50-55 points per game. That will be vitally important Tuesday, as the Bulldogs face a team that’s almost a mirror image of itself in performance this season in the Georgetown Eagles at 7:30 p.m. at Magnolia West High School in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals.
Georgetown (28-8) has one more victory than Nederland (27-9) and one less loss. Both teams feature strong defenses that helped them burn through a district schedule. Both fell to eventual district champions late in the season.
The Eagles are also led by a strong senior class, much like Nederland, with 6-foot-1 senior guard Jacob Vick averaging 10.7 points per game and 6-foot-2 senior guard D’Andre Day averaging 10.4 ppg. Oh, and it just so happens that the two teams also played in the Region III, Division I semifinals in football this season, with the Eagles beating Larry Neumann’s Bulldogs 38-6.
The Eagle basketball team finished 12-2 in District 17-4A this season, falling to district champ Elgin twice. Georgetown is in its first year back in Class 4A since 1994. The Eagles are on a six-year streak of making the playoffs, having done it in five straight seasons while a 5A team.
Last year, the Eagles finished as the third-seed from District 16-5A and beat Austin Westlake in the first round before falling to The Woodlands College Park in the area round. The Eagles also reached the area round in 2010, when they lost to The Woodlands.
In fact, going back to 1993, the Eagles have made the playoffs 10 times, but never advanced past the area round of the playoffs. The last time Georgetown made noise was when it was last in Class 4A, which was 1992.
Back then, the Eagles advanced all the way to the 4A state title game, falling to Dallas South Oak Cliff 73-60 in the championship after beating Pampa in the state semifinals.
Both Nederland and Georgetown had similar scoring averages this year, too. Nederland has scored 58 points per game this season and allowed 47.4 per game while Georgetown has scored 51.8 ppg and allowed 42.8 ppg.
Over their last ten games, both saw drops in scoring average allowed, with Nederland’s falling from 47.4 to 44.3 over the last 10 and Georgetown’s going from 42.8 to 40.5. The points scored, though, diverged some.
Georgetown has struggled more to score points over its last 10 games, seeing it’s scoring average drop to 48.3 from that season average of 51.8. Nederland, meanwhile, has seen an increased scoring average, from 58.2 up to 60.2.
Still, all those numbers are close enough for the changes to be statistical noise. Georgetown does seem to have trouble scoring enough to keep up with high-octane offenses, which could benefit a hot-shooting Nederland team.
That’s borne out, too, in looking at how the teams performed in wins and losses. For Georgetown, the Eagles upped their scoring to 52.1 in victories this season and dropped that defensive scoring average down to 38.1 ppg. In losses, however, Georgetown has scored about the same at 50.4 ppg, but given up over 20 points more than in victories at 58.9 ppg allowed.
Nederland is in a similar situation, seeing a bump in scoring average in victories up to 61.5 ppg while showing better defense than its season average at 44 ppg allowed. In losses, Nederland’s scoring also fell off to 48.3 ppg while the defensive average jumped 13 points to 57 ppg allowed.
That’s why it appears if Nederland can top 60 points on Tuesday, it will have a great chance to win. Georgetown lost every game this season when it gave up at least 56 points. Nederland has a slight edge there, having won one of four games where it gave up 60 or more points by beating Silsbee 66-61 on Dec. 14.
The signs are there in the numbers, but all Nederland is concerned with is that “W,” and a return trip to Katy’s Merrill Center for the Region III tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Sixty is the magic number.
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