Port Neches-Groves looks to end turbulent season on high note

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Port Neches-Groves boys basketball team started the season hot, winning two tournaments and looking as though they would be on the brink of an excellent season, but the young team struggled to find a groove as district play started, leading to an 0-11 record heading into the week.

With most of the varsity squad returning next season, Head Coach Chris Smith said he wants his players to get the taste of winning back in the last couple of games to help propel them into next season.

“We graduated nine seniors last year,” Smith said. “They were strong seniors that had great leadership. These guys did well starting off, but we got a little adversity and couldn’t get over the hump again. I have seen so much potential. It is the craziest thing, because I have never been a part of something like this, being so good and then struggling like this.”

Head Coach Chris Smith said he is satisfied with his players’ performance this season and wants them to finish strong. (Chris Smith/The News)

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The record is not indicative of PNG’s competitiveness.

Of the 11 losses, the Indians have only lost three games by double digits. Both games against district-leading Barbers Hill were decided by eight points.

The hot start was kicked off by winning tournaments in Little Cypress-Mauriceville and Nederland’s Bulldog Classic.

Junior guard Eddison Gaspar has led the team in scoring, averaging 18 points per game, and sophomore transfer Langston Adams has been the team’s starting point guard.

“Chris Clark, who is one of our few seniors has been a good leader for us,” Smith said. “He has been solid all year. The young guys have been solid all year, but playing district basketball is different than non-district.”

In this last stretch of games, Smith said he wants to see his team put together four quarters.

“I know if we do that, I know how good this team could be,” he said. “We haven’t done that in a while. We have those games where we are leading at halftime, then the third quarter comes and we get outscored. Then we get tight in the fourth and miss a free throw here and give up a layup there. Before this group leaves, I want them to remember how good they are and how good they can be.”

PNG will play at Goose Creek Memorial Friday before closing out the season with a home game against rival Nederland Tuesday at 7 p.m.