By T.J. Reed – For The Record

Orangefield’s 7th Grade and 8th Grade Boys Basketball teams competed in the Port Neches-Groves Middle School Basketball Tournament over the weekend.  Both teams were faced with a challenging opponent in the first round as they took on the Canines of Central Middle School.  In the first game the 7th grade was defeated handily by a very athletic Central team 50-10, but the 8th grade battled for four full quarters and made a game of it with their great defensive effort.  Offensively, Kent Michael had one of his better games leading the team with 8 points.  A layup off of a turnover inside the final minute of the game put the Canines up 26-25, but the Cats got the ball back with 4 seconds left in the game.  They used a timeout to get themselves in position to go the length of the floor for a potential game winner and once the ball was inbounded the Bobcats executed perfectly setting up a shot from the elbow for Colby Gonzales.  Gonzales put up a good shot at the buzzer that bounced everywhere on the rim, but did not pass through it and Central narrowly escaped Orangefield with a first round win.

In the next game of the night, both teams faced off against their district opponent the Little Cypress Cubs.  The 7th Grade got off to a rough start going down 19-10 in the 1st half.  After the break, Bryce Bergeron and the Bobcats got things going with a 14-6 3rd quarter to creep back into the game versus the Cubs.  Bergeron poured in three 3-pointers in the quarter and led the Orangefield in scoring with 17 points, but the Cats never could completely close the gap falling to Little Cypress 32-28.  In the 8th Grade game, the Cats clawed their way to their first victory of the year, overcoming the previous heart breaker earlier in the day.  Orangefield jumped on the the Cubs early and never let up.  The Bobcats stifling defense helped them to an 11-3 4th quarter that put Little Cypress away for good.  They won 29-18 and were led in scoring by posts, Kayson DuBois who had 11 and Colby Gonzales who chipped in 8 of his own.

Friday night’s win advanced the 8th Grade into the Consolation game of the PN-G Tournament versus their longtime rivals, the Bridge City Cardinals, on Saturday morning.  Bridge City came into the game having already knocked off the Bobcats 25-21 at their place to open the season, but it was obvious that both teams had drastically improved since their first match up.  Most of the story of this game was Orangefield’s inability to stay out of foul trouble.  This was a surprise to see as the Bobcats had played two wonderful defensive games the night before.  Kayson DuBois and Clayson Choate both fouled out in the 4th quarter of a game that rarely saw the lead grow to more than a bucket for either team.  The Cats also had three players finish the game with four fouls a piece and Bridge City spent most of the game in the bonus going 19-30 from the charity stripe.  Guard, Heston Puckett had a great offensive showing, scoring 13 points to led the team in a game that saw a the momentum swing and the lead change often.  After the Cards knocked down two free throws to knot the game at 35-35, the Bobcats turned the ball over and gave up a layup with just a few seconds left on the clock.  Orangefield advanced the ball to half court and called a timeout with guess what?…  Yes, 4 seconds remaining on the clock and a chance to win for the second time this tournament.  The Cats drew up an inbounds play, but when Bridge City squeezed the paint Chase Broussard decided to pull the trigger and drill a deep three pointer at the buzzer for the “walk off” win!  When asked about the play of his team Coach Reed was full of praise saying, “We have gotten better every time we stepped on the floor this season.  These kids played their hearts out all weekend and to their credit it finally showed up on the scoreboard.  We won or were in every game we played and that’s all we could ask for.  It’s nice to come home with some hardware and it’s that much more fun for these players having won it on a great shot at the buzzer.” The final score was 38-37 in favor of the Bobcats.

All of the Orangefield teams will be at home next Thursday and resume district play against the West Orange-Stark Stallions.