Ned going for sixth regional in seven years

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

NEDERLAND — When Nederland was eliminated from the bi-district round of last year’s 5A basketball playoffs, it ended a five-year string of appearances in the regional rounds.
Darrell Jones didn’t get to have a hand in changing the Bulldogs’ fate, but the junior point guard does now.
“I’m actually very excited,” Jones said Friday. “This is my first playoff game I’ve ever been in.”
Seniors Jase Miguez, Colton English and Garrett Ary were among the last Nederland team to reach the Region III playoffs. That group came within two wins of going to the 5A final four, matching the program’s best finish in Brian English’s 10 seasons.
“We had a lot of kids back from last year’s team who didn’t get to experience success in the playoffs,” coach English said. “I’m hoping they’re ready to go.”
Just maybe finishing third in 5A’s toughest district — 22-5A — has done Nederland (24-10, 9-5 in 22-5A) a lot of good.
“I don’t think we’ll be nervous,” English said. “Our kids have played a lot of basketball in big situations.”
A lot of basketball.
The Bulldogs went 16-5 before their first district game, reaching the finals of the Hardin-Jefferson Marathon and winning their own Bulldog Classic for the first time ever. In 22-5A play, Nederland came within baskets of earning three wins against top-10 Beaumont ballclubs Ozen and Central. Jones nailed a three-point basket to force the Jan. 29 home game against Ozen into overtime, but the Panthers escaped with a 79-76 win.
“Knowing we’ve played them, knowing we’ve almost beat them, we can beat anybody and go on a real far playoff run,” said Jones, who’s third on the Bulldogs in scoring at 11.1 points per game.
Nederland finished the regular season winning three of its last four after a 66-39 loss at Central, it’s worst of the season.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of games where we didn’t play well, but that was sure one of them,” English said. “That was the only one. But I feel out of the 10 losses, we were in every one of them but one.”
Now, there’s no more room for a bad game.
Kingwood Park (23-6, 13-3) finished second in 21-5A and will take on Nederland at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Goose Creek Memorial High in Baytown, so the Bulldogs will have the advantage of playing in a familiar gym.
“We know they’re pretty well-coached and have good tradition,” English said. “They’re a tough matchup for us. Their guards are quick, and they have kids who can shoot the three. It’s going to be a difficult task.”
Yet Kingwood Park will have to slow down Nederland’s trio of senior guard Jase Miguez (20.8 ppg), junior center Kevin Howard (12.5) and Jones.
“When we’re on, we’re on,” Jones said. “I don’t think anybody can stop us.”

**CORRECTED to reflect Darrell Jones’ actual classification**

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

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.

email author More by I.C.