Lady Bulldogs hold off PN-G, 53-44

Published 11:25 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NEDERLAND — For a good part of Tuesday night’s District 22-5A girls basketball game at the Dog Dome, it appeared like the home team might run away and hide.
But games between Nederland and Port Neches-Groves are never that simple, as the Lady Bulldogs were reminded before prevailing 53-44 behind 21 points from senior Christine Porterfield.
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the visiting Lady Indians used a strong second half by Hannah Jones and Taylor Johnson to cut PN-G’s lead to three points on four occasions, the last at 47-44 with a minute remaining.
“We just lost our heads in that second quarter, but we pulled it back together and just fell short,” PN-G coach Robin Wilson said. “Hannah Jones and Taylor Johnson did an amazing job.”
For her part, Nederland coach Anna Benefield was hardly surprised by the tense times down the stretch in the game pitting the two Mid-County rivals.
“Rivalry games are like that,” she said. “Even though you come out and get a big lead, you can’t bank on that. In a rivalry game, there’s a lot of heart on both sides.”
After Brooke Ramirez scored on a putback, then came up with a steal to set up Johnson’s free throw, PN-G tightened a 37-31 deficit at the end of three quarters to 37-34 with 6:45 left in the game.
It was the closest the game had been since Porterfield’s three-pointer made it 5-0 midway through the opening quarter.
But the Lady Bulldogs made sure their rivals got no closer as they won their first district game of the year after five earlier setbacks.
Porterfield, a senior, scored eight of her points in the final period and joined teammates Makaela Sattler and Joyce Nguyen in doing their best to play keepaway from the Lady Indians in the backcourt.
Paris Borel swept the boards for 14 Nederland rebounds and teammate Sara Pierce finished with 10.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, but we were confident and disciplined in doing what we practice every day,” Benefield said. “Christine is one of our leading scorers, but she’s really stepping up in finding ways to utilize her teammates to score as well.”
PN-G’s Jones scored nine of her team-high 14 points in the second half and Johnson scored all of her seven points in the final two periods as PN-G fought back from a 25-16 halftime deficit.
It was actually a 12-point deficit when Sattler nailed a three-pointer from the left corner to open the second half for Nederland. She was 3 of 7 from three-point land in scoring 11 points.
But it was a different line that PN-G’s coach was interested in after the game, pointing out her team just hit 11 of 30 free throws. Shooting, though, was not a strong point for either team in this one.
Nederland’s girls hit on 16 of 43 shots from the field (37.2 percent), while PN-G settled for a 30-percent night (15 of 50). On the bright side for PN-G, after an 0-for-15 start that had the Lady Indians trailing 8-1 after the first quarter, Wilson’s team shot 43 percent for the final 23 minutes of the game.
PN-G dropped to 4-12 overall, 0-6 in district.
“I feel like we have something to build on, I do,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a great team I can build on. And I’ve got some freshmen coming up, great underclassmen.”

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