David Coleman prep notepad: PN-G boys have shot at playoffs

Published 7:12 pm Monday, January 14, 2013

Since 1966, it’s only happened three times.

You’re probably right to call me crazy for this, but with nine games left on the district schedule, I’m going to say the Port Neches-Groves Indians have a great chance to make the playoffs this year.

Let’s review some facts:

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• Since 1965, the Indians have been to the playoffs exactly three times. They went in ’66-’67, ’88-’89 and in ’10-’11.

• That means they’ve never been in the playoffs twice within a three-year stretch.

• That’s a percentage of 6.25 for seasons where the Indians made the playoffs. Or roughly my prediction potential in the Beat Bob contest this year. So, take this for what it’s worth.

Still, the Indians seem primed to make a run at that final playoff spot in 20-4A. They’re one game off of second place at 3-2, trailing Nederland and Ozen at 4-1. They’re currently tied with Lumberton for the fourth playoff spot and have a two game lead over sixth place.

In those final nine games, PN-G has to play Ozen twice, Central once and Nederland once. They also travel to Lumberton for a pivotal game. In a worst-case scenario, PN-G will lose four games to the league’s top three teams, but win the rest and go 5-4 down the stretch. That leaves them with a respectable 8-6 record at the end of district play.

If that happens, they’ll win that last spot because of a victory over Lumberton. If they pull off the upset over Ozen on Tuesday or beat Nederland at the Dog Dome, they might just cruise in to the playoffs.

I hope this didn’t jinx PN-G head coach Pat Abel’s squad, because he deserves to see his team get in this year. Though the Indians went to the playoffs recently, there aren’t any players off that 2010-2011 squad left on this year’s team.

Abel deserves plenty of credit for pulling this team out of a 2-10 hole and pointing them to the playoffs. It’ll be fun to see if they can get there.

Game of the Week

Beaumont Central at Nederland, Friday – For a second straight week, the Nederland boys basketball team earns a spot here. That’s because their matchup with Beaumont Central on Friday may be one of their biggest of the first half, but also a chance for redemption after Friday’s 66-59 loss to Beaumont Ozen.

If Nederland can pull the upset on the No. 10 Jaguars, it’d throw Central, Ozen and the Bulldogs into a three-way tie for first (assuming all three win on Tuesday). With Central and Ozen playing each other the following Tuesday, it could give Nederland a one-game edge over someone heading into the second half of play. Ozen has already lost to Central once this season, a 60-52 loss at Central to open district play.

Lady Titans move up a spot

The weekly TABC basketball polls were released. Most of the Southeast Texas teams represented moved downwards, with the exception of the Port Arthur Memorial girls  and a pair of 21-3A boys teams. The Lady Titans moved up a spot to No. 17 in this week’s poll after handily beating Baytown Sterling last Friday in their only game of the week.

The Hardin-Jefferson boys also moved up a spot while Silsbee did the same. The two teams are two spots away from each other in the poll (H-J at No. 10, Silsbee at No. 12) and will play each other on Tuesday in the first half of what should be a hotly contested district race.

After losing to Beaumont Ozen on Friday, the Nederland boys plummeted to No. 25, but remained in the poll while Ozen was not ranked.

Nederland rebounding situation

After Ozen’s 66-59 victory last Friday, Nederland head coach Brian English was emotional, as he is after many big games. When asked about his team’s rebounding in the game, when they were outrebounded 9-1 in the second quarter, he said the team would have to go back and look at the tape, but then said this isn’t a team that can win many rebounding contests with good teams.

That probably was a bit of frustration talking, because  the game Friday wasn’t a good indicator whether Nederland can rebound well in big games or not. Yes, the Bulldogs don’t have a ton of size inside, but which teams do? Size is a luxury, just like outside shooting is a luxury which Nederland just happens to possess.

Junior forward Colton Weisbrod is the best rebounder on the team, but close behind him are Zach English and Jamiere Rodgers. On Friday, Rodgers picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and had to go to the bench.

Add to that the zone defense Nederland was playing to shut down Ozen’s outside shooters, which kept English on the perimeter, and the Bulldogs didn’t have two of their best three rebounders close to the rim on most shots.

Nederland won’t always have that happen, and they won’t always play teams with the range of Ozen, where Jordan Hunter could take shots from the first row of the bleachers and make them easily. Which is to say that the situation may not be as dire as English sounded after the game. He and his staff do a great job at correcting things like that, and you can be sure they’ve already broken down the tape to that end.

Recruiting season

Football recruiting season is getting a lot of attention right now with national signing day about three weeks away. But, there’s plenty of recruiting going on in the basketball world, too.

On Monday, Nederland’s Colton Weisbrod posted a picture on Instagram of three college letters he had just received from Texas State, Weber State and Kansas. The 6-foot-4 post was ranked No. 69 in the state’s Class of 2014 by TexasHoops.com, Rivals’ basketball wing.

Zach English was listed as the No. 46 player from the state of Texas for the Class of 2013 by ESPN’S Recruiting Nation. English’s father, Brian, who is also his head coach with the Bulldogs, said that the two are putting any recruiting talk on hold until after the season, when they’ll sit down and discuss it all.

The Port Arthur Memorial girls have a handful of seniors who could also sign with colleges this year. Senior post Dorcieve Davis has already signed with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but should be joined teammates like Ariel Hutchinson, Crystal Sallier (who could sign for softball) and Loren Evans.

 David Coleman covers high school sports for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at dcoleman@panews.com