Dogs notch second blowout in row; Hefner warms up

Published 11:32 pm Friday, January 20, 2017

NEDERLAND — Hayden Hefner’s confidence continues to grow each game.

“At the start of the year, it wasn’t too hot,” Nederland’s 6-foot-3 freshman guard said. “Over the year, it’s gotten better.”

Hefner scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, helping Nederland post a 62-42 win over Vidor on Friday night.

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The blowout victory, Nederland’s second in a row, was a tune-up for a crucial home game against District 22-5A leader Central on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs (21-7, 4-3 in 22-5A) made things look rather easy for much of the first half. Darrell Jones, who finished with 16 points, keyed a 17-0 run that ran into the second quarter with seven points. Cade Smith nailed back-to-back three-point baskets later in the run.

“We played a great half that first half, both sides of the ball,” Nederland coach Brian English said. “We did some good things well. We got some kids the ball who needed a little confidence. We hope it carries into Tuesday.”

Vidor (8-23, 0-7) fell behind by as much as 32-10 and went into halftime down 33-14, but the Pirates sliced that deficit down to 40-29 after Ashur Fondren scored 10 of his 16 points in the third.

“That’s human nature, sometimes, when you get a big lead,” English said, thinking Nederland suffered a let-up in the period. “You try not to do it, but it happens. Hopefully we can learn from it. We did a good job getting [a big margin] back.”

But Hefner scored eight points in the first 4 minutes of the final period. That helped Nederland increase its lead to 52-31.

Hefner got many of his points slashing to the basket and converting second-chance shots.

“Coach has been telling me to go in a little bit more, and I’ve just been applying it to the game,” Hefner said.

English said Hefner has the ability to play at a high level.

“We’ve just got to get him going, and hopefully tonight will boost his confidence more,” English said.

Kevin Howard added 11 points for Nederland. For Vidor, Seth LaPray had 12 and Maverick Quirante totaled 10.

Vidor will visit Port Arthur Memorial on Tuesday. Memorial remains second in district standings, one game behind Central, with Ozen one game ahead of Nederland for third.

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

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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