Confidence builder: Bulldogs turn it on in rivalry; Titans next

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017


NEDERLAND — Tuesday’s game against Port Neches-Groves was Nederland’s rivalry match before the big showdown.

Nederland passed the first test with a 51-26 win over PNG to move the Bulldogs up to 2-2 in District 22-5A play and 19-6 overall.

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Friday is a big one against one of the district’s top teams. Port Arthur Memorial defeated Ozen 68-67 Tuesday, and now both the Titans and Panthers are 3-1, one game behind the 4-0 Central Jaguars.

“We feel good because we know what is coming Friday night,” Nederland coach Brian English said. “We needed a big win tonight and we needed some confidence coming off the close loss last Friday. We feel good about Memorial coming in and we think we will play well.”

The Bulldogs certainly looked good Tuesday against the Indians, who dropped to 6-12 overall and 2-2 in District 22-5A.

English was especially pleased with the Nederland defense that allowed only nine points in the first half.

PNG got three points in the first quarter off a trey from Keynel McZeal, who finished with seven points.

“I thought the kids did a great job, maybe the best job of the year, of coming out and getting engaged on the defensive end,” English said. “That was the difference tonight. We don’t have to pump them up for this one. It was a good rivalry game for them. Our kids were ready tonight and it showed.”

Nederland had no problems on offense early in the game as Darrell Jones was hot throughout the contest. He had eight points in the first quarter and had a game-high 17 points.

“When he is engaged like that and focused like that, he is a hard guard for anybody,” English said of Jones. “I am proud of him. We are trying to get him aggressive like that every night.”

Nederland took a 25-9 lead into the break after outscoring PNG 13- 6 in the second quarter.

Edsel Damo hit a three for PNG in the third as the Indians tried to mount some sort of a comeback.

Nederland eventually won the quarter 12-7.

Reid Garrett drained his two three-pointers in the frame as he finished with nine points.

Bulldogs post Kevin Howard was the only other player to score in double digits with 10 points. Hayden Hefner finished with six points.

The Nederland starters only played about a half of the last 8 minutes.

Derrick Papa and Brandon Petix each added six points for PNG while Damo finished with five.

PNG is home Friday to face Central at 7:30 p.m.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe




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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