PNG, Sabine Pass coaches continue sibling rivalry with Thanksgiving game

Published 12:14 am Thursday, November 25, 2021

PORT NECHES — Many family gatherings can get competitive. The holiday season is no different. While many families take the opportunity to get a pickup game or a touch football scrimmage in, Chris Smith and his brother Chad Bryan coached against each other in a local high school showdown as Port Neches-Groves’ boys basketball team hosted Sabine Pass this week.

Smith, who coaches the Indians, and Bryan are half brothers with different dads.

The meeting was the third time the two squared off against each other over the Thanksgiving break. While the final score of 63-17 is a bit lopsided, both were just happy to play the game.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Bryan said. “We are a 2A school and they are a 5A school. Every year, I’m sure there are people who wonder why we play Port Neches. We are in a unique situation. I am lucky enough to just have a job in basketball and even luckier to coach against my brother in that job. We are going to do it as long as we can.”

Chad Bryan, right, embraces his brother Chris Smith after a game between PNG and Sabine Pass over the Thanksgiving break. Chris Moore/The News

The atmosphere at PNG High School was fairly laid back. The stands weren’t packed, but a group of students kept the game fun with some lighthearted banter with the opposing team. Coaches could even be heard joking with referees as they made their trip down the court.

“We have always said we wanted to play against each other,” Smith said. “No matter the outcome, we just enjoy the time and fellowship together and a little bit of trash talk over Thanksgiving.”

While Smith said the natural advantage goes to the bigger school, he admitted he does like having the winning record in the sibling rivalry.

“He has had some good teams and he has made me sweat a lot,” Smith said of Bryan. “He does a good job over there. It helps us see some things that we would not normally see and he gets to see some things that his team would not normally see. It is a good fit for both of us.”

As for the basketball, PNG’s Christian Arteaga led the game in scoring with 25 points. Ian Eberhardt was second with 11 points on three 3s.

Sabine Pass sophomore Richard Thomas led his team points with 11.

Smith said he is proud of how is team is gelling and is eager to add more players once the football season ends.

“The team chemistry is really what I am proud of,” Smith said. “We are very young. We are starting a freshman, a couple of juniors, one senior and a sophomore that gets a lot of playing time. We have Torryan (Hinton) coming off the football field and a couple of role players. We want them to win as much as they can, but we are ready to have them back also. They are a happy addition when they come back.”