MONT BELVIEU — A great Port Arthur Memorial game plan held down Pearland in the first half, but a 26 point third quarter sunk the Titans in a 49-37 loss to the Oilers in a Class 5A bidistrict playoff game at Barbers Hill Tuesday.
Memorial led Pearland 6-3 after the first quarter and 15-14 at the half. But, the Oilers then ripped off more points in the third than they scored in the rest of the game combined, using their size and speed to run past the Titans in the pivotal period.
“They’re a very good team,” Memorial head coach Travis Williams said. “We had a great game plan. But, the third quarter, they scored 26 points and that was the difference in the game. They made plays.:”
The Titans came out and took an early 2-0 lead after Dorian Chatman made a point blank shot in the paint. That’s when Williams’ plan kicked in. To limit the Oilers length (Pearland had nine players at 6-foot-3 or taller), Williams pulled his guards out to the perimeter and forced Pearland to switch from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man defense.
With all those big bodies pulled out on the perimeter, Memorial saw passing lanes open up and its smaller, quicker guards were able to penetrate and hold down the number of possessions.
Defensively, Memorial was able to push most of Pearland’s shots outside and rebounded well despite a lack of size. By boxing out and outworking the Oilers on the boards, Memorial limited second chance opportunities for the Oilers in the first half.
“They’re length was just too much,” Williams said. “In the third quarter, they made plays. That length took its toll. It gave Dorian his third foul and without him in the game, we’re pretty small. We have some mid-range guys, but without that 6-6 presence, teams will try to get inside on us.