Eagles swoop past Rock-A-Noos

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

PORT NECHES — Cheyanne Orozco will always remember the way longtime Port Neches-Groves coach Barbara Comeaux looked at her and her teammates in the locker room.

“I think we brought back past Rock-A-Noo tradition, that fight and that heart, and I think what I will really remember that because I’ve never seen her so proud,” the senior said. “The way she looks at us, I can tell there’s something about this team, the team chemistry.”

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The Rock-A-Noos’ deepest playoff run in 13 years came to an end Tuesday night, thanks to Barbers Hill’s 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 sweep in the 5A Region III quarterfinals. Comeaux’s 46th team at PNG finished the season 31-12 and District 22-5A co-champion, but earned the No. 1 seed.

The season the Rock-A-Noos had this season likely will be more remembered among than the way it ended among the teammates.

“It’s a really big accomplishment,” senior Brynna Bailey said about PNG reaching the regional quarterfinal for the first time since 2003. “We definitely had our goals set high this year, and I think we exceeded them.”

PNG had not won a playoff game since 2012 before this season and luckily secured a home game Tuesday after beating Caney Creek in Crosby and Galveston Ball in Baytown. Barbers Hill coach Lauren Leth knew her team was heading into a tough environment.

“We just talked about blocking out all the craziness that was going on and working on getting in our zone,” she said. “I think we got in our zone and hit our stride tonight.”

The Eagles (35-11), loaded with three Southland Conference commits including Kinsy Haschke (Lamar), pulled away from the Rock-A-Noos in each set. Sam Houston State commit Madi Miles had 32 assists and soon-to-be Nicholls State signee Katie Jones and Kennedy Adams each totaled eight digs in the wins, with Adams adding 13 digs.

“They had some really good defense, and their setter was really good,” Orozco said. “They had a stronger hitter outside, [Haschke]. She was really good.”

Comeaux said Barbers Hill possessed quickness that her team had not seen in district play all season, but she added PNG played with timidity and wasn’t aggressive.

For PNG, Kaitlyn Gil finished with 14 digs, Libbie LeJeune totaled 12 digs and seven service points, Orozco served six points, Bayja Newby totaled nine digs and seven service points, Baylee Priddy dished out eight assists and Rachel Hammersmith made seven assists.

Senior Hannah Jones, who had six service points for PNG, said she woke up with the confidence the Rock-A-Noos would beat Barbers Hill.

“You have to wake up knowing that,” Jones said. “No matter what happens, we have to have the courage to do it and we have the ability. We just have to show it on the court.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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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