PORT ARTHUR —
Stamp a big “D” on Friday’s win for the Port Arthur Memorial Lady Titans, because a “W” just isn’t enough.
The Lady Titans did not allow a field goal to Channelview in the third quarter, as they stormed back from a 19-10 deficit to beat the Lady Falcons 49-44 at Memorial Gym in District 21-5A play.
Defense was such a big part of the Lady Titan comeback, it’s fitting that they won the game with a great defensive play.
After Ariel Hutchinson calmly knocked down a pair of free throws with the score tied at 42-42, senior Sommer Harris picked up a steal as Channelview tried to bring the ball up court. Her takeaway ended with Crystal Sallier hitting a point-blank jumper under the basket to put Memorial up 46-42.
“We pride ourselves on defense, ” Memorial head coach Kevin Henry said. “That’s the staple of our team. We were able to settle down and make some things happen on the defensive end.”
Memorial (25-4, 9-1) still stands alone atop the district after clamping down with its defense in the second half against the Lady Falcons. In the third quarter, the Lady Titans used both good defense on Channelview’s guards and better rebounding to hold the Lady Falcons to 0 for 16 shooting.
That defense led to the Lady Titans holding Channelview to just five points for about a quarter, from the middle of the second to the middle of the third. Memorial outscored Channelview 18-5 over that span and finished the third quarter on a 26-8 kick that gave the Lady Titans a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Both senior posts Loren Evans and Dorcieve Davis were big in that second half turnaround. Davis grabbed six rebounds in the third quarter, finishing the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Evans had a game-high 14 points with 10 rebounds. Evans had 11 of those points in Memorial’s comeback run.
“We had a talk at halftime,” Henry said. “One thing we talked about is they outworked us in the first half, especially on loose balls. They had more of what we call ‘hustle points.’ They were after the rebounds, getting second and third chances. We had our hands on it, but couldn’t secure rebounds for whatever reason. We talked about at halftime that we had to do a better shot of blocking out and getting the rebound. They came with the energy in the second half.”
The Lady Titans were able to hold off a feisty and quick Channelview team despite a cold shooting night in the first half. The Lady Titans shot just 2 for 12 from the field in the first quarter, when Channelview outrebounded them 16-7 and took a 10-6 lead into the second quarter.
Memorial finished strong from the floor, making 43 percent of its shots in the second half (10 for 23).
“I will never tell them not to shoot the ball,” Henry said. “The only shots you miss for sure are the ones you don’t take. I told them hopefully they’ll start falling, but follow the shot, block out and try to get a rebound. You have to keep encouraging them to shoot, but I wanted them to start driving a little bit more and look for the assist. We try to tell them that if your shot isn’t falling, do some other things to help the team.”
Sallier finished with two points, but led the Lady Titans with three assists and three steals. Freshman Jakira Ford had eight points and six rebounds while senior Ariel Hutchinson had seven points, three rebounds and two assists.
Memorial can clinch a share of the district title with a victory Tuesday, as the Lady Titans travel to 7-2 North Shore at 7 p.m.
Port Arthur Memorial 49, Channelview 44
CV 10 13 4 17 — 44
PAM 6 14 16 13 — 49
PAM: Loren Evans 14, Dorcieve Davis 10, Jakira Ford 8, Ariel Hutchinson 7, Joyce Kennerson 6, Crystal Sallier 2, Sommer Harris 2.
CV: Natalie Moody 12, Anjelique Kyle 14, Taeler Deer 11, La’Keisha Salazar 4, Jaycelyn Jefferson 2, Zhare Brent 1.
Statistics: Rebounds — Memorial 35 (Davis 12); Channelview 46 (Deer 10). Assists — Memorial 6 (Sallier 3); Channelview 6 (Jefferson 3). Steals — Memorial 9 (Sallier 3); Channelview (Deer 4). Turnovers — Memorial 16, Channelview 16. Fouls — Memorial 10, Channelview 15. 3-pointers made — Memorial 0; Channelview 3 (Deer 2, Moody).
Records: Memorial (25-4, 9-1); Channelview (15-7, 6-3).
Next: Memorial at North Shore, 7 p.m. Tuesday