, Port Arthur, Texas


January 22, 2013

Port Arthur Memorial clamps down on Deer Park 53-35

PORT ARTHUR — Flying down court after picking a Deer Park guard's pocket, Torian Lott could have finished off the play with a layup and possibly a foul. Instead, he whipped a no-look pass behind him to teammate Dorian Chatman, who thundered home a dunk and brought the crowd to its feet.

That moment, though, was not the norm for Lott and Chatman Tuesday, as the Titans’ two top scorers were quiet against the Deer. Luckily, their teammates were able to overcome an icy start to clamp down on Deer Park 53-35 at Memorial Gym in District 21-5A play.

Chatman scored 10 points, but six of those came on dunks in the fourth quarter and Lott didn’t score his first points until he was fouled with less than four minutes to play. Still, the Titans got contributions from up and down the lineup and played sterling defense against the Deer in the victory.

“It’s a win,” Memorial head coach Travis Williams said. “It wasn’t the prettiest, but I’ll take it. My father told me when we beat La Porte that no win is ugly. Every win is beautiful, because you could easily be on the other side of the coin. One more win puts us in the playoffs. We’re not just trying to get in the playoffs, though. We’re trying to get up there.”

The Titans started out the game shooting 3 for 11 in the first quarter and 8 for 29 in the first half. The Deer didn’t fare much better in the first quarter, going 2 for 6 from the floor with nine turnovers. The overall scoring drought meant that the first quarter ended with Memorial 6-4.

What the Memorial defense did effectively was limiting Deer Park’s shooting opportunities. The Titans had six less shots in the first half (29) than the Deer had all night (35). The Titans were also able to hold the Deer to just 4 of 17 shooting from behind the arc.

“It’s a matter of us jelling as a team,” Williams said. “They didn’t panic, but I had some concern. We’ve got a good coaching staff. Coach Lance (Robertson) was there telling them that the shots are going to fall, just keep shooting. If you can hold a team to 50 or under, you have a chance to win. I do take pride in defense.”

Junior post TreVaughn Dennis led the Titans in scoring with 13 points, adding four rebounds and providing an early spark. Dennis scored four of Memorial’s six first quarter points, shooting 4 for 6 from the floor in the first half while the rest of the team was 4 for 23.

In the third, it was junior guard Albert Jacobs stepping up to hit a couple of big shots, sinking two 3-pointers to stop a Deer Park run and give Memorial control of the game’s momentum. Jacobs finished with six points, two rebounds and three steals.

“A.J. hit some big threes,” Williams said. “We missed some big free throws in the middle of the game. We missed a lot of easy shots around the basket. It could have been much worse. Albert gives us a spark. If everyone keeps working together, we can win some games.”

Neither Lott nor Chatman were entirely silent in the game, but both picked up two fouls apiece in the first quarter and headed to the bench. Still, Lott and Chatman both were able to make their presences felt when in the game. Lott finished with three points, three rebounds, a team-high four assists and two steals.

Chatman was the only other player in the game in double-figures with 10 points. He also had a game-high seven rebounds while adding an assist and a steal.

“If Dorian and TT (Lott) continue to focus, they can be special,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, we’re young as a team. We could be pretty good if we come together.”

Memorial (15-10, 5-2) stands alone in second place in District 21-5A right now, a half game ahead of Beaumont West Brook and a game ahead of Channelview, who lost 79-55 to North Shore Tuesday. The Titans will travel to Channelview at 7 p.m. Friday.

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