The Associated Press
Scoring trends for 21-5A boys
As we did last week, it’s time to delve into the scoring trends this season for the District 21-5A boys. What’s interesting here, though, is that unlike the 20-4A boys, there wasn’t a ton of movement between the season averages and the last 10 games for much of this district.
Like the Central boys, North Shore clearly is at the head of the pack. The Mustangs are scoring more points than anyone else at 61.3 per game and have one of the best defenses at 51.0 points allowed per game.
Three teams have allowed fewer points than the Mustangs, including Channelview at 50.4 ppg allowed and Port Arthur Memorial at 50.8 ppg allowed. But, the cream of the defensive crop is Baytown Sterling, who is allowing just 49.1 points per game this season.
Following North Shore in points per game are Channelview at 58.6, La Porte at 55.5 and Memorial at 55.0. Interestingly, the district’s second place team, Beaumont West Brook, finds itself fifth in both scoring average and scoring defense at 54.7 ppg and 53.1 points allowed.
Most of the district remained relatively stable in the last ten games from their overall numbers. Sterling saw the biggest collapse in scoring, seeing its point per game total drop 5.3 points to 45.7. That may explain why the Rangers jumped out to a big non-district win total at 15-7 but have gone just 1-7 in district play.
North Shore saw the biggest increase, upping its total points per game by 3.3 to 64.6. The Mustangs also saw a drop in their scoring defense, allowing 48.9 points per game, which is second best in the district over the last 10 games.
Which leaves the three other playoff teams. La Porte is fighting to get in, but sits two games behind both third place teams in Memorial and Channelview. The Bulldogs have a better scoring offense than Memorial at 55.5 per game, but have the second worst defensive average in the league.
That number drops to the worst per game average over the last 10 games, as the Bulldogs actually have allowed more points than Deer Park with 59.1 points allowed per game over that stretch. Deer Park ranks last in virtually every list, scoring just 46.6 points per game this season and 43.9 per game in the last 10.
Based on these trends, the second half of the 21-5A playoff race may be too close to call. Teams like Channelview, Memorial and West Brook are bunched very close together in overall scoring performance, which may make for a hectic and unpredictable finish.
Game of the Week
Port Arthur Memorial girls at North Shore – With two games left to play, we can finally start saying that a game like this is for the district title. The Memorial girls will travel to North Shore for a rematch with the Lady Mustangs after beating them 50-44 on Jan. 5.
If the Lady Titans win Tuesday, it will ensure them the outright district title, as they’d be two games up on North Shore with one to play. If the Lady Titans lose Tuesday, they can still clinch a share of the district title with a victory over Baytown Sterling on Feb. 5.
North Shore lost its last game, falling 49-44 to Channelview last Tuesday. The Lady Mustangs were off on Friday, but had won four straight after falling to Memorial the first time. The Lady Titans, on the other hand, haven’t lost in three weeks.
PN-G’s streak of close games
The Port Neches-Groves boys are still fighting to get into the playoffs, but the way they’re doing it lately, they might as well be called the Cardiac Kids. PN-G has now played two straight double-overtime games, losing the first 52-47 to Lumberton and then beating LC-M in double overtime Friday 53-51.
Before that, PN-G had played two more games with the victory margin at three points or less, beating Livingston 38-37 and losing to Beaumont Ozen 47-44 on a buzzer beater by Jordan Hunter.
With a tough slate of road games this week against Central and Nederland, Pat Abel’s bunch is probably hoping it could win a couple of games and maybe not have to play so many overtime periods to get there.
Memorial boys get pep talk from Gamble
Before last Tuesday’s victory over Deer Park, the Port Arthur Memorial boys had a pre-game visit from legendary Port Arthur Lincoln head coach James Gamble. His message was simple, that this Titan team was greater than the sum of its parts if they played together.
“I always enjoy when Coach Gamble stops by with all that wisdom,” Memorial head coach Travis Williams said. “He said individually, we don’t have any true superstars, but as a team, we could be alright.”
Gamble’s words proved prophetic, as the Titans gutted out a victory over Deer Park without great nights from their two leading scorers, junior point guard Torian Lott and sophomore post Dorian Chatman. Having Gamble as a resource along with athletic director Andre Boutte and his father Fred Williams has been a big benefit according to Williams.
Williams also added that he thinks both Lott and Chatman have the potential to become superstar players if they put everything together.
Chatman drawing interest
Speaking of Chatman, the 6-foot-6 sophomore has already started drawing considerable recruiting interest. Chatman gained plenty of notice last summer playing for the Houston Hoops travel team and drew some praise from Port Arthur’s own Stephen Jackson in a video on YouTube following his camp here in September.
All that notice has added up to some serious recruiting chatter, with coaches from Baylor, Texas A&M, Alabama and Lamar all keeping tabs on the sophomore. In fact, one of Alabama’s assistant coaches was at Memorial’s game against Beaumont West Brook on Jan. 15 to watch Chatman.