The Port Arthur News
MONT BELVIEU —
MONT BELVIEU — As disappointed as the Port Arthur Memorial boys basketball team may be by failing to beat Channelview on Friday and landing the second seed heading into the Class 5A playoffs, they’ve got nothing on the South Houston Trojans.
With three games to play, the Trojans had a chance to win back-to-back district championships for the first time in school history. Unfortunately, South Houston lost to Pasadena Dobie in its second-to-last regular-season game, falling into second place.
That’s what set up the bidistrict matchup with the Titans at 6 p.m. tonight in Barbers Hill. It’s the sixth straight season the Titans have made the playoffs but the first time in four years that they have not played Pasadena Dobie in bidistrict.
South Houston appears to have taken a similar path to the Titans this season. The Trojans stumbled to a 10-12 record heading into district play, but won seven of their next 10 to grab the second seed from District 22-5A.
As part of that, the Trojans lost their district opener to Deer Park, falling three games under .500 before ripping off four straight victories. That included a big 78-56 victory over the Deer in the rematch at home.
The Trojans stumbled a bit down the stretch, winning just two of their last four. However, their averages of 70 points per game and 56 points per game allowed were actually better than the 66.7 ppg they scored and 57.7 ppg they allowed during district play.
That suggests South Houston is both adept at scoring and playing good defense. While Memorial allowed fewer points per game during district play (49.2), they scored almost 14 points less per game at 53.5 ppg over that stretch.
Sophomore Elton Dyer has averaged 14.6 points per game over the last three and combines with senior point guard Lacey Mose as the co-leaders for the Trojans. Dyer also leads the team in both rebounding and blocked shots, though he only stands at 6-foot-2.
Those two filled the gap that presented itself when the Trojans lost two starters early in the season. Kenneth Marshall was a three-star football recruit who signed with Texas A&M in February. He came to the team late and then injured his knee, which made him decide to enroll early at Texas A&M and rehab his knee there.
The Trojans also lost starting shooting guard Rueben Rosales to a torn ACL in December, leaving both Dyer and Mose to take over the scoring burden.
However, the biggest weakness for the Trojans is in the middle. During Deer Park’s early season 75-65 victory over South Houston, the Deer scored 50 of their 75 points in the paint. South Houston doesn’t have a lot of size inside, which bodes well for the Titans.
That’s because the Titans have been playing better and better with both senior Tre’Von Armstead and freshman Dorian Chatman in the game at the same time. Not many teams will be able to match up with that size, leaving the Titans to dominate both the boards and keep the quick guards from South Houston out of the lane.
Chatman, in particular, has shown a knack for blocked shots. He had six blocks against another size-challenged team in Channelview last Friday. He’s good at picking up blocks both coming from the back side of the lane and running out towards the 3-point line. Chatman’s length can bother shooters in both cases, making the Titans’ defense so effective late in the season.
Armstead and Chatman have also combined to potentially give the Titans a rebounding edge. While the two don’t always lead the team in rebounding, they have shown a propensity for working with the guards to tip balls outside and give the Titans a second chance at a scoring opportunity.