PORT ARTHUR —
Let it be known Port Arthur Memorial’s Dorian Chatman did everything Tuesday night for the Titans.
His performance along with many others against La Porte was exactly what Coach Travis Williams has been needing to see out of Memorial for several weeks.
The Titans completely ran away with the last regular season game of the year and won 68-44. La Porte made Memorial work in the first meeting by forcing the Titans to double overtime until losing, 57-52.
Memorial ends the District 21-5A schedule in a tie with Beaumont West Brook for second place. The Titans and Bruins are both 9-3 in the league standings. West Brook defeated Baytown Sterling, 64-51, Tuesday.
North Shore is the district champion after Tuesday’s 87-48 victory over Deer Park.
Williams said there has not been a decision made on if the Titans and Bruins will play a tiebreaker to determine playoff seeding or whether it will come down to a coin flip.
The Bulldogs, who end the regular season in a fourth-place tie with Sterling, kept the game close throught the first half.
Memorial (21-7) was up 28-22 at the half after shooting 1-for-9 from behind the arc. The Titans were 11-for-25 from the field in the first two periods.
Then came the explosion.
Memorial erupted for 24 points in the third period and its defense picked up its game by holding La Porte to 12 points.
Chatman had six of his 19 points in the third and the Titans used a 10-0 run to build a 42-28 lead midway in the period.
If the third period was unkind to the Bulldogs, the fourth was as rude as anything La Porte has ever been through.
Memorial started the game’s final eight minutes on an 8-0 run and Chatman brought the thunder that forgot to come with the rain outside Titans Gym.
Ron Taylor, who had seven points in the win, went up for a shot and Chatman did what any big man is supposed to do, he crashed the glass.
Chatman went into the air before it was even known Taylor’s shot was off. He grabbed the rebound and threw the ball down for a dunk that echoed through the rafters.
“I was hoping Ron was going to pass me the ball,” Chatman said. “Then when he shot I decided to do what I am told to do, go get the ball. I figured that was a better idea than Coach T being mad I didn’t get the board.”
There cannot be too many reasons for Williams to be upset with Chatman and his teammates after this one.
Chatman was not done having fun with the Bulldogs either.
Late in the game Chatman juked and jived in front of a La Porte defender trying to make it look he was able to drive to the basket. Instead, Chatman pulled up and drilled a 3-pointer.
“I have been working on my outside game,” Chatman added. “I figured that was as good a time as any to show I can make that shot.”
Chatman added seven rebounds, three steals and two assits in the victory.
“At half the coaches were telling us we needed to pick it up and we all decided to go even one notch higher,” Chatman said. “We wanted to go give 110-percent. We are getting back to trusting each other and being a family. We needed a night like this.”
The Titans got 12 points from Joseph Williams and eight points and five rebounds from Darren Williams. Albert Jacobs and Torian Lott each finished with six points.
Memorial was 27-for-56 shooting on the night for 48-percent.
The last two games for Memorial are certainly a far cry from where the Titans seemed to be heading after a midseason, two-game losing streak in 21-5A after defeating North Shore and climbing to No. 7 in the state.
The Titans defeated the Bruins 60-54 on Friday and Tuesday’s second half performance was one of the best 16 minutes for Memorial all season.
“These last two games were huge,” Williams said. “We looked a lot better in that second half. We got after it and the kids seemed to be having a little fun out there. That has been missing. I think we finally have some momentum that has not been on our side. Now we are in the playoffs and anything can happen.”
Memorial’s defense flustered La Porte all game long and forced 19 turnovers. The Bulldogs shot 44-percent from the field on 16-for-36 shooting.
The Titans finished the game 4-for-16 from behind the 3-point line.
LA PORTE 9 13 12 10 --44
MEMORIAL 10 18 24 16--68
LP: Alex Hobbs 13, Miki Rodriguez 12. MEMORIAL: Dorian Chatman 19, Joseph Williams 12, Darren Williams 8, Ron Taylor 7, Albert Jacobs 6, Torian Lott 6