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BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: PNG coach wants team defense, possession security

The PNG Indians made it to the playoffs last year but were sent packing after their first game ended in defeat against Texas City, 67-43.

Chris Smith takes over as head coach this year after 20 years under Pat Abel, who stepped down but remained as a teacher. Smith’s previous school was rival Nederland, his alma mater, where he was an assistant coach under Brian English, and before that a coach for the girls basketball program.

What the team is going to have to work on this year, Smith said, is making sure they play team defense and to take care of the ball.

Smith is nonetheless looking forward to working with a team he believes has great chemistry and strong leadership from seniors such as Noah Marchak (6-1) and Khristian Curtis (6-5). A few of his juniors deserve some notice as well, particularly Brady Nail (5-10) and Kenneth Muller (6-2).

The Indians will travel to play two scrimmages, one at West Orange-Stark on Nov. 9 and another at Bridge City on Nov. 12, before they officially begin their season at Little Cypress-Mauriceville on Nov. 19.

2018-19 record: 18-15, 6-7 in 21-5A (fourth place)

Head coach: Chris Smith, first year

First game: At Little Cypress-Mauriceville, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19