Monkey off Dogs’ back: Nederland holds off rival PN-G

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PORT NECHES — For Nederland, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y spells relief.
After coming close to upsets in back-to-back losses against Ozen and Central in the past week, the Bulldogs avoided a three-game losing streak and got big games from Jase Miguez and Darrell Jones Tuesday in a 55-45 victory over previous District 22-5A co-leader Port Neches-Groves at a packed Reservation gymnasium.
“[PN-G] played really well and it was a great game,” Nederland coach Brian English said. “We knew it was going to be close, and we just had to make plays at the end. Today, we made a few plays and made some free throws at the end.”
Nederland took advantage of getting PN-G in the two-shot penalty early in the fourth quarter and led by as many as 12 points twice in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs nailed 10 of 10 free throws in the final 1:49 and finished 15 for 19 from the line.
“It really helped us,” said Jones, who finished with 18 points.
Nederland’s Jase Miguez and PN-G’s Adam Morse, the respective team scoring leaders, tied for the game high with 20. Morse finished with six three-point baskets.
“We had guys in his face and he shot it well,” English said. “It’s not a whole lot you can do. For some reason, there’s a lot of teams that do that to us.”
The Bulldogs (17-9, 2-2) never trailed and were only tied with the Indians once at 2-2, but the visitors set a tone on defense with their half-court traps.
It’s what Jones called “bluffing defense.” English called the defense the best phase of the Bulldogs’ game.
“I think it was the help defense,” Jones said, asked what pulled the Bulldogs through. “We started off kind of slow. But at the end, we picked it up, and we got the win.”
The Indians (11-8, 3-1) stuck within a bucket for the first 4 minutes of the game and pulled to within two points three times the rest of the way.
But Jones and Miguez found ways to give Nederland much-needed separation.
Jones, a senior point guard, scored seven unanswered to key a 9-0 run going into the second quarter and give Nederland a 16-8 lead. PN-G answered back with back-to-back treys from Derrick Papa and Edsel Damo, and pulled to within 23-21 at halftime with Morse’s third trey of the game.
Miguez had a big third quarter with six of the Bulldogs’ 12 points, and a 26-24 lead grew to 32-24 in less than 3 minutes. But Morse nailed two more treys to keep the Indians in it.
“I think our defense in the second half, we couldn’t stop the penetration very well,” PN-G coach Pat Abel said. “Adam kept us in the game a little bit with his outside shooting, and Nederland does a phenomenal job executing their sets on offense and then they play great defense. I think they only had two team fouls deep in the second half.”
Morse was the only scorer in double figures for the Indians. Keynel McZeal and Derrick Papa each had seven points, as did Nederland’s Kevin Howard and Garrett Ary.

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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