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Nederland bites back at Kelly

Nederland 63, Kelly 50

Kelly               6          8          13       23       —        50

Nederland      10       15       13       25       —        63

Kelly (1-2)

Jonathon Miller 3, Ogo Nwaobi 6, Asaad Bodden 24, Michael Obodo 7, Richard Jennings 10.

Nederland (1-0)

Hayden Hefner 21, Justin Thomas 2, Cade Smith 5, Jonathan Rayford 7, Logan Foster 9, Shafin Momin 8, Da’reion Jones 2, Carlos Rodriguez 9.

Three-point goals — Nederland 5 (Hefner 2). Fouled out — None. Free throws — Kelly 16-27 (Bodden 10-13); Nederland 14-22 (Foster 4-5, Hefner 3-4, Smith 2-2). Total fouls — Kelly 14, Nederland 21. Technical fouls — Kelly coach Knowles.

 

NEDERLAND — Sophomore swingman Hayden Hefner knew why it took Nederland a few minutes to get on the scoreboard.

“We like to run our sets good and get everything clean-cut,” Hefner said. “As the game went on, we got our jitters out of the way and played a little better.”

The early jitters to the first game of the season subsided after about 5 minutes, and Nederland rode a 21-point game by Hefner in taking a 63-50 win over Kelly on Tuesday night.

“I hope that’s all it was,” 12th-year Bulldogs coach Brian English said. “I think the kids came out a little nervous, but that’s what you kind of expect out of the first game.”

The slim, 6-foot-5 Hefner, a University of Houston recruit, had only five points at halftime, when Nederland (1-0) led 25-14. All of those points came in the first quarter.

“I’m only going to keep growing, so it’s all going to come into place,” Hefner said. “I just develop my game.”

From the time Logan Foster’s three-point shot with 3:35 left in the first period put Nederland on the scoreboard, the home Bulldogs never trailed. Kelly’s only lead was 2-0 until that point.

Foster, who finished with nine points, keyed a 7-0 run to finish the half with a drive to the basket and three free throws, all in the final 24 seconds.

“We finally got it going a little bit,” English said. “We’ve got to do a better job taking care of the ball, rebounding the ball. We have to value the ball a little bit better.”

English charged some of the turnovers with his team getting in a hurry and some newer players getting used to the game speed. He has six varsity players returning from last season’s 26-10 team that nearly upset District 21-5A champion Humble in the bi-district round, but is missing the inside-out duo of Darrell Jones and Kevin Howard to graduation.

“All we can do is get back to practice and get better,” English said.

A foul away from the ball on a three-point make and putback helped Kelly (1-2) pull within 27-23, but no closer than that. Hefner sank back-to-back field goals during a 6-0 rally that gave Nederland a 10-point lead again.

Nederland outscored Kelly 25-23 in the fourth quarter.

Asaad Bodden had 24 points and Richard Jennings added 10 to lead Kelly. Carlos Rodriguez also had nine points for Nederland.

Next for Nederland is a Saturday game at Bridge City with a 6 p.m. tipoff.

I.C. Murrell: 549-8541. 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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