Ganders get the best of Indians

Published 10:45 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

PORT NECHES — It was far from pretty and far from what Port Neches-Groves needed in the District 22-5A race.
The Baytown Lee Ganders defeated the Indians 50-45 off a late three-pointer from Josh Hockless and a pair of free throws from Martin Matthew and Bret Haygood.
PN-G (12-9) and Lee (10-11) are now tied in the 22-5A standings with matching 4-4 records.
The Indians defeated the Ganders 57-54 in the first round of district play when Adam Morse hit a buzzer-beater.
This time around a possible buzzer-beater from PN-G senior Ryan Abel would never even get in the air.
The Ganders were up 48-45 with under 10 seconds left in the game and what many thought in the gym was a Lee foul behind the arc turned into a PN-G turnover.
Haygood then hit his free throws to put the game out of reach with 1 second left.
Derrick Papa had given the Indians a 45-43 advantage before Hockless (20 points) answered with the trey to push the Ganders ahead 46-45.
Morse finished with a team-high 14 points while Abel added 13 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Haden Wiggins finished with six points and 10 boards.
“Baytown Lee is so athletic,” PN-G coach Pat Abel said. “You can’t let their record deceive you any because they are not a bad basketball team. They were fighting for that last playoff spot just like we are right now. They came out and executed on the road tonight and did what they had to do.”
The Indians trailed 29-20, at the break and that is when the game got a little interesting on the court.
Lee coach Trent Manuel opted to work a stall against the Indians. The Ganders held the ball as minutes ticked off the clock.
There were only eight shots taken in the third. The Ganders were up 31-26 going into the fourth.
Morse hit two free throws late in the final frame to cut the Lee lead to 39-37. Hockless then missed a pair of free throws before Abel hit a bucket in the paint to tie the score at 39-39.
Wiggins tied the game again with a basket, this time at 41-41 and another basket from Abel gave the Indians their first lead of the night at 43-41.
The Indians would only lead one other time, this time after Papa’s free throws to make it 45-43.
“Our kids played their tails off to give themselves a chance,” Coach Abel said. “I am proud of them.”
Abel knows his team now must win the games the Indians are supposed to win for the rest of the season.
“Every game for us matters,” Abel added. “Now we have to go out and push it a little harder.”
The Indians travel Friday to face the Goose Creek Memorial Patriots. The Patriots are 1-17 overall and 1-7 after an 86-30 loss Tuesday to Class 5A No. 5 Central.

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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