PNG has hustle, needs shots to start falling when district play begins

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

PORT NECHES — For the Port Neches-Groves girls basketball team, energy and effort have not been an issue early in the season. What the team needs to start seeing is its shots start falling before district play starts next week.

PNG guard Mariela Dublon said the team is playing hard.

“I really feel like we have improved since the beginning tournaments,” she said. “We are getting better and better. We are working every day to get better at our shooting. Honestly, we just have to get our shots to fall through.”

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Dublon said the team’s best game came against Orangefield.

“They are a really competitive team, and we played head-to-head with them,” she said. “We played them in a tournament and played really well against them. I feel like everyone had really good intensity and eagerness to win the game.”

Head Coach Lance Robertson said the team’s intensity starts with Dublon.

“We had a speaker come out to the campus to speak to all of the athletics program,” Robertson said. “His key words were ‘energy’ and ‘effort.’ I talked about it last night, that Mariela Dublon goes hard no matter what. It doesn’t matter if we are up 30 or down 30. I talked to her about being a leader in practice and getting everyone going.”

Dublon said she tries to be whatever the team needs.

“I try to be a teammate that I would want to have,” she said. “If I was down, I would want one of my teammates to pick me up. I feel like you get what you put in.”

Robertson said the scoring woes are hurting the team.

“We have to score points,” he said. “We can play some really good defense, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t score. There are times where we miss some shots and our defense can’t sprint back in transition.”

The coach said the lack of scoring can take a toll on team defense.

“If you make it, you can get back easy and set up,” he said. “When you miss, the rebound can go long and you are scrambling to get back.”

Robertson believes PNG’s best game came in a 31-23 win over Kirbyville.

“We held them to a low point total even though we didn’t score much,” he said.

PNG has only played two home games so far this season. Robertson is eager to start district play so they can consistently have more games in front of a home crowd.

The Indians start district play Tuesday when they travel to Crosby to take on the Cougars.