Nederland to celebrate 50th Bulldog Classic with alumni

Published 12:10 am Friday, December 3, 2021

NEDERLAND — The Nederland boys basketball team is hosting the school’s 50th annual Bulldog Basketball Classic Tournament this weekend. The tournament, which started Thursday and will run through Saturday and features a special event planned for Friday night.

Approximately 70 Nederland alumni, who played on the basketball team over the past few decades, will be in attendance to celebrate the tournament’s half-century mark. The alumni program will be at 6 p.m. today (Dec. 3) in the Dog Dome.

“We are going to have between 50 and 75 alumni back,” Bulldog Head Coach Brian English said. “It will be a lot of fun. We are going to have some shooting games. We are going to have some fun, introduce them and let people know where they are now. It is just a little get together.”

English said Brian Hefner, who was all-state for the Bulldogs in 87, will be in attendance. His nephew, Hayden Hefner, currently plays for Texas A&M.

“It will be a lot of guys from the 70s, too,” English said. “We will also have some more recent guys. We have a list of about 50 names and we have about 20 more that said they are coming. We hope we have some surprises. It will be a good time. I am looking forward to it.”

The tournament tipped off at both gyms Thursday. Nederland played Lumberton Thursday night, while PNG started off against Hamshire-Fannett.

PNG Head Coach Chris Smith, who graduated from Nederland in 1995, said he is looking forward to the alumni program.

“It is going to be awesome,” Smith said. “I am glad Coach English decided to do this. Whenever he talked to me about it, I knew it would be a chance to reconnect with a lot of old guys that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Smith said he was happy that his team is able to participate in the tournament, too.

“It is fun now that I don’t work here,” Smith said. “When I worked here, we had to work the tournament. Now, I get to sit back and enjoy it. I get to watch a lot of good basketball. Hopefully we get to play some good basketball, too.”

English said hosting the tournament is a lot of work but added that he is thankful.

“We didn’t get to do this last year because of COVID,” he said. “There is a lot of teams and a lot of action, but everything is running on time. All of the teams and referees showed up, so it is all good.”

PNG takes the floor first in a 9 a.m. game today (Dec. 3) against Vidor. Nederland’s first game will be against Legacy at noon today (Dec. 3) followed by a 7:30 p.m. contest against West Orange-Stark. The game will come after the alumni program.