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Nederland girls basketball getting ready for playoff collision with Manvel

For the second consecutive year, the Nederland girls basketball team made the District 21-5A playoffs. The Bulldogs clinched the fourth seed by beating Galena Park 43-29 Friday.

Nederland (8-11, 5-7) will play Manvel (21-5, 15-1) at Shadow Creek High School at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“It feels pretty good to let the girls see that what they are doing is paying off,” Nederland head coach Jody Walker said. “They are being rewarded with the opportunity to represent District 21-5A, which is a pretty good feat in itself.”

Walker said his team has shown plenty of resilience battling through a season in the midst of a pandemic.

“This season has a lot to do with life,” he said. “You are going to face adversity and have daily challenges. When it is your time, you have to be able to step up and be ready. They have really stepped up.”

Walker needed his team to step up down the final stretch of the season as Nederland battled for the final playoff spot. The team got a crucial 49-37 win over rival Port Neches-Groves and finished the season with a clinching win over Galena Park.

“It shows that they don’t quit and they are all in,” Walker said of his team. “The girls that are out there are definitely all in. When one goes down, you have two more ready to pick it up. It has been a really pleasant year from that aspect.”

Walker said playing in one of the toughest districts has prepared them for the playoffs.

“We have played against teams that are as good as Manvel, if not better,” he said. “They like to play as a team. I always say it is up to us on whether we are going to do things right and play as hard as we can.”

Walker said his team will have to play smart basketball in order to leave Shadow Creek with a victory.

“You have to use what they do against them, which is the full-court press,” he said. “They don’t want you to be patient. They want to speed you up and get you playing to their pace. We just have to slow the game down and play smart. We have to win loose balls and get rebounds when they miss shots.”

Walker said Beaumont United is the closest team to Manvel when it comes to style of play.

BU finished the season undefeated. Walker said to be the best, one has to beat the best.

“(Manvel) is athletic and have good size,” Walker said. “They shoot the three ball extremely well like United. Crosby does the same thing. This is along the same lines of what we are trying to get to. I tell the girls that this is what we need.”

He said his team is coming off one of its best games of the season, which came in a 36-33 loss to Barbers Hill last week.

“That was probably our best game,” he said. “It was a loss but you could see the girls noticed that this is what we have to do and we took that same mentality into Galena Park and the girls battled through adversity and didn’t start to question things. They stuck with the game plan and it paid off.”