McZeal rescues Indians

Published 12:07 am Saturday, January 7, 2017

PORT NECHES — For a second it looked like Port Neches-Groves senior Keynel McZeal let the Indians’ chance to beat Vidor slip away.

Instead, McZeal grabbed the ball before it went out of bounds, worked back to the rim and made a bucket with 4 seconds left to give PNG a 41-40 win over the Pirates.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The game wasn’t over just yet as Vidor got the ball to half-court and called time out to set up one final play with about a second left on the clock. A pass hit the backboard and the game clock started without the ball touching a player. Rules state the clock does not start until a player touches the ball.

The ball hit off the glass and was eventually recovered by PNG near mid-court. The referees, after a lengthy discussion, put time back on the clock and gave the ball to PNG since it did recover the loose ball. That let the Indians escape with the victory.

“That was a crazy game,” McZeal said. “That last play happened so fast. I thought the time was out so I threw it up there and it went in. It was a good win for our team. We needed this one.”

Friday’s shot was McZeal’s first-ever game-winner in basketball.

“Keynel likes to play with one hand a lot,” PNG coach Pat Abel said. “It seemed like he had one hand up and he just ended up with the ball. We talked in the huddle during the timeout that we are going to go win this game by a shot by Keynel. He stayed with the play and he got it to go in. Thank youm Keynel.”

The Indians (6-11, 2-1 in 22-5A) did not show signs in the first half that they would be in position to win the game at the end.

PNG led 10-9 after the first period but only scored two points in the second and trailed 18-12 at the break.

The Indians’ offense put up 19 points in the third and held Vidor to 11 as PNG was up 31-29 heading into the game’s final 8 minutes.

“Vidor plays us so well,” Abel said. “They are a good basketball team. We made a lot of mistakes that hurt us in the first half and I think in the second half we made a few more shots and played better defense. We were able to have a big third quarter point wise that got us back into the game.”

PNG was 0-2 on the season against Vidor (8-11, 0-3). The two teams met in both the Nederland and Bridge City tournaments.

Derrick Papa led PNG with 14 points, 12 coming on four three-pointers.

McZeal finished with 10 points and Hunter Curtis added nine points.

PNG travels to face Mid-County rival Nederland on Tuesday. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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.

email author More by Gabriel