In only their second year of existence, Beaumont United is steamrolling District 21-6A as the ninth ranked team in Texas 6A. A big part of their success comes from veteran leadership in the names of seniors Kasen Harrison, Justin Pleasant, Jaylen Subject, and Kendris Henry. The Timberwolves are currently 5-0 in district play with recent wins over Westbrook, King, Channelview and La Porte.
Their next district showdown, Tuesday night, is against district rival and 10th ranked North Shore.
Are the Timberwolves ready for primetime heading into the game?
"Anytime you get a win over West Brook it's a good thing," said BU head basketball coach David Green.
"They are always well coached by Coach Boutte, he does a good job preparing his team for district play. Anytime we play each other its always a tough game and if you can come out on top it's always a big win for the program."
Green knows how to build a championship team as he led North Shore to the 5A title back in 2014. He took over Beaumont United in 2018 for the challenge of starting up a new program and to be closer to family. Green is a Silsbee native.
"At the end of the day, when it comes to winning a championship, all your players must do whatever it takes to win," said Green.
"If your players are all on the same page and willing to make sacrifices, to be that 'all in' player, good things will happen. Most of the teams that win are all in, no descension, no hidden agenda's, it all about the team."
Strong senior leadership is the foundation of a strong core and BU has with it the balanced play of Harrison, Pleasant, Subject, and Henry.
"These kids believe in what the coaches are trying to implement and they believe in their teammates and they lead by example," said Green.
"They come to work everyday and are performing at a high level, we just need to keep it going."
Prior to leading North Shore to the state title in 2014 Green head coached at Fort Bend Hightower and began the Port Arthur Memorial boys basketball program in 2005.
To listen to a podcast interview with Coach Green as part of this article click on the "Play" button below.
After their first ever playoff appearance last season the Lady Indians are trending up in 2020. With an overall record of 14-9 and 2-2 in district play, Port Neches-Groves moves into a tricky district matchup at home Friday night versus a down Vidor squad 0-11 (0-2).
Led by returning all-district seniors Mollee Priddy and Maylin Stampley, head coach Kara Skinner has high expectations for this years team.
"We're looking to definitely finish in the top two of district this season, getting back into the playoffs, that's definitely the expectation to get back there again," said Skinner, into her second season as PNG head coach.
After a disappointing loss to Dayton 61-58 to open district play, the Lady Indians rebounded with back-to-back wins over cross then rival Nederland (58-44) and Port Arthur Memorial (58-53).
The Lady Indians were heavily tested Tuesday night with their second district loss to defending champion Barbers Hill (73-49)
"The Dayton loss was disappointing," said Skinner, "That was a game we felt we should have won. We missed 12 free throws and didn't finish on some short shots that we would routinely make but our kids are confident, we'll be ready."
The Lady Indians entered this season with a new swagger as newly minted post season veterans. After losing six seniors to graduation, Skinner has a new core of players to complement Priddy and Stampley.
"The younger players have seen the changes within the program and their determination has really been a game changer for our program and that's from the freshman (team) all the way up to varsity."
Players stepping into new varsity roles this year are Britney Brevell (Sr.), Paxton Shults (Jr.), Amonti Edwards (Fr.) and junior varsity call up Morgan Lavere.
"We're looking to get more players involved offensively that will help us with the playoff run."
PNG will have a week off after Vidor and will host Dayton January 24 for a redemption game from their early season loss to the Lady Broncos.
To listen to the podcast interview with PNG head coach Kara Skinner click on the "play" button below this article.