, Port Arthur, Texas

January 7, 2013

David Coleman prep notepad: Lady Titans top 20 wins early

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Say this for the Port Arthur Memorial Lady Titans: they are not satisfied.

In fact, it seems that head coach Kevin Henry is building quite the powerhouse for the next few seasons at Memorial. His Lady Titans, having won the District 21-5A title for the first time last year and topping 20 wins for the first time in school history, decided not to wait until the playoffs to win 20 this time.

They did it in 24 games.

In his second year as head coach, Henry has a sterling record of 41-14 and has his team on track for another district title this year. The Lady Titans (20-4, 4-1 District 21-5A) tied North Shore for the district lead by beating the Lady Mustangs 50-44 last Saturday. Channelview, who dealt Memorial its only district loss the previous Thursday, is a half-game back of North Shore and Memorial at 3-1.

In a great sign for the future of the program, Memorial is not only having this success with seniors like Dorcieve Davis, Loren Evans, Crystal Sallier and Ariel Hutchinson. The Lady Titans are also getting great contributions from sophomore point guard Joyce Kennerson and freshmen like Jakira Ford and Victoria Brown.

Ford was moved up from the freshman team (which regularly scores 80 points per game, by the way) to provide some depth inside for the Lady Titans and quickly has become one of the team’s leading scorers from game to game. Brown, too, was moved up recently and was one off the scoring lead against North Shore with eight points.

One thing the Lady Titans will have to combat in the rest of the season, according to Henry, is teams trying to slow down the pace of the game. With ultra-fast guards like Kennerson, Memorial would ideally pressure teams constantly with transition buckets and pressure defense.

Lately, though, teams have been trying to make the pace more deliberate to mixed results. Memorial lost by two points to Barbers Hill in the Gulf Coast Classic championship in a similar situation and had a low-scoring affair against Channelview in that lone district loss.

However, the Lady Titans also beat North Shore in a low-scoring contest. If they can learn to play both up-tempo and grind-it-out styles, things could get pretty interesting for this Memorial team in a good way.

Game of the Week

Mid-County Madness, Boys Edition, Part 1 — In a light night for local hoops action, with both the Memorial boys and girls off Tuesday, the Nederland boys’ trip to the friendly confines of PN-G’s Competition Gym ranks right at the top of the calendar.

Nederland (18-6) looks to be making another run at a district title, as it has marched to a 3-0 district record by beating Vidor, Livingston and LC-M so far. PN-G (7-12, 2-1) jumped into contention with a perfect start to district play until a 61-35 loss to Central last Friday.

The Bulldogs should have senior guard Zach English back from an ankle injury he suffered against Livingston before the holiday break. English played some in the Gulf Coast Classic in Barbers Hill, breaking out on the second day by scoring 19 points against Goose Creek Memorial. Even when he’s banged up a bit, English still possesses a great jumper, which helps him score in bunches.

The Indians’ leading scorer, Brandon Pham, is also a very capable shooter and has been having a terrific year. PN-G is looking to avenge a 77-54 loss at home last season to the Bulldogs.

Williams coaches against former team

After spending eight years coaching at Silsbee, after growing up in the community, after following his dad as head coach of the Tigers, it probably meant a little something extra when current Memorial head coach Travis Williams coached against his former school earlier this season.

This is an older note that was delayed by our not putting together a notebook until now, but Williams’ coaching debut against his former school is still worth mentioning. I asked him about it after Memorial’s loss to Nederland earlier this season.

“When you see the guys you’ve been with, something comes inside (you),” Williams said. “You’ve built up a rapport with them. I’m from that area. I want Silsbee to be successful.

“It’s different. I’m not from this area. I like it here. I’m glad to be here, I’ve got a great athletic director, great staff, very understanding principal.”

Williams went 210-54 in eight years with Silsbee and has a 29-24 record with the Titans in one-plus season. Williams’ dad Fred coached at Silsbee for four years, making the state tournament in 1976.

 Central, Nederland boys, Ozen girls top TABC rankings

    Monday saw the first update to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) state basketball rankings since December 17 of last year. The top ranked team in the area continues to be the Beaumont Ozen girls, who fell out of the top spot and sit at No. 5 in the Class 4A rankings with a 12-1 record this season.

    The Port Arthur Memorial girls dropped from No. 12 to No. 18 after losing a pair of games over the break. Beaumont Central is No. 10 again on the Class 4A boys side, while Nederland clocks in at No. 16, one spot lower than the last set of rankings.

    The Beaumont Central girls are No. 14 in the Class 4A rankings while the Hardin-Jefferson girls are at No. 11 in the Class 3A ranks. The Hardin-Jefferson boys are ranked No. 11 in Class 3A while the Silsbee boys trail at No. 13.

    Voting is done weekly until the playoffs begin.