GIRLS BASKETBALL: Bulldogs return all starters, await more help
NEDERLAND — The Nederland girls basketball team is trying to run it back after not losing any players to graduation last year.
The team returns all starters and added two players that were on the junior varsity team last season.
“The biggest difference this year has been the unity,” head coach Jody Walker said. “We are getting a better understanding of where the girls are going to be and looking to make that pass and play better defense. We are learning to communicate without communicating, because you know where your teammates are going to be.”
The team started the season 2-2, with many of the girls slated to start still playing volleyball for Nederland, which advanced to the second round of 5A area round playoffs Thursday.
Walker said his team is waiting on five girls to join the varsity team after the volleyball season.
“All we can do is just keep playing with what we have,” he said. “We have several that will be joining JV and varsity. A lot of my guards are playing volleyball.”
Even with an incomplete team, Walker has been proud of the team’s progress.
“I’m proud of where we are headed,” he said. “Our girls are working hard. It is still early. With all of the issues going on, just trying to get a healthy team is the biggest part. They are showing up every day and working hard.”
Early in the season, Walker said his team is still searching for that one player around which the team can rally.
“We are just trying to get them to understand that it is their play on the court that speaks volumes,” Walker said. “Some of it is just them getting comfortable in their positions.”
Walker said sophomore Ava Wiltz and junior Ke’asia Hall are the primary ball handlers.
“One thing I was really proud of was the fact that we didn’t really have a top scorer,” Walker said. “On any given night, we can have seven or eight girls that can be the leading scorer. If you try to stop one, we are going to try and get another going and they are more than ready.”
Walker is grateful to have a season given the pandemic and get some normalcy back in their lives.
“We’ve been talking to the kids about taking care of themselves, not just at school, but also in the community,” he said. “We want them to be more cautious and aware because of everything going on.”
Walker wants opposing coaches to say his team is mentally and physically tough.
“We are just trying to build a program and get us moving in the right direction,” he said. “We want our girls to understand that this is something you are supposed to be doing.”
NEDERLAND GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Home games in BOLD; All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. unless listed otherwise.
14—Goose Creek Memorial (lost 51-48) 17—Little Cypress-Mauriceville (lost 68-60), 21—Orangefield, 23—Hamshire-Fannett, 24—West Brook
1—Lumberton, 4—Kelly, 5—Sabine Pass (2:30 p.m.), 8—Bridge City, 11—Cleveland, 12—Vidor (4 p.m.), 15—Jasper, 19—Sheppard (3 p.m.), 22—Nederland, 28—Kountze (1:30 p.m.), 29—Hardin-Jefferson, 30—Beaumont United
5—Barbers Hill, 8—Galena Park, 12—Port Arthur Memorial, 15—Crosby, 22—Nederland, 26—Beaumont United, 29—Barbers Hill
2—Galena Park, 5—Port Arthur Memorial, 9—Crosby