Nederland, Memorial & Port Neches-Groves compete in same tourney while eyeing district showdowns

Published 12:34 am Friday, December 10, 2021

SOUR LAKE — Three area boys basketball teams got a chance to scout one another before district play starts in a couple of weeks.

Memorial, Nederland and Port Neches-Groves spent Thursday in Sour Lake participating in the Hardin-Jefferson Basketball Marathon tournament.

All three teams will compete against each other in District 21-5A this season. District play starts Dec. 21.

Nederland’s Ethan Borel drives by a defender during a tournament game. (Chris Moore/The News)

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The Hardin-Jefferson tournament runs through Saturday and will be the last one before the start of district play.

“The great thing is that you get to do a lot of scouting over the weekend,” PNG Head Coach Chris Smith said.

“However, you also run the chance of running into one of them. You might pull something out that you don’t want to or they might see something that you are trying to save for them, but you are trying to win the game…It is hard to pass up a tournament with this level of competition.”

All three teams played two games Thursday.

Memorial’s slate featured an overtime loss, but Head Coach Alden Lewis said the tournament is about fixing flaws.

“We just have to gel,” Lewis said. “This is our last tournament going into our district games. We are getting guys acquainted to playing in tournaments. Right now, it is just about gelling and doing what we are supposed to do.”

Junior Jordan Casmore led the Titans with 20 points on six 3-pointers.

PNG’s Torryan Hinton pushes the ball during a tournament game. (Chris Moore/The News)

Smith said the Indians have to find a way to generate energy on the court after Christian Lege suffered an ankle injury.

“He is the heart and soul of the team,” Smith said. “You wouldn’t think that, because he is about 5-foot-7, but he is the hardest worker we have. He might be 5’7”, but he plays 6’7”.”

Nederland is coming off an impressive run, winning the Bulldog Classic.

Head Coach Brian English said he hopes his team can keep the momentum going.

“We’ve been playing pretty good,” he said. “It’s good to win the tournament you host. Everyone puts a lot of work into it. The kids had a great time and it was a great experience.”

He wants to see his team improve in all aspects.

English acknowledged some of the perils of playing a district rival in a tournament.

“One year we played a district opponent in a tournament and beat them and then dropped both games to them when we played in district,” he said.

The three teams are not in the same pool, but could face each other Friday or Saturday depending how they do in their respective divisions.