The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
In the end, the decision whether to play or flip a coin was not a hard thing to figure out for Memorial Coach Travis Williams.
Williams’ Port Arthur Memorial Titans face the Beaumont West Brook Bruins at 7 p.m. tonight at Ozen High School to determine which District 21-5A team will represent the league as the No. 2 team. West Brook also wanted to play the game, so no coin flip was needed to decide if the playoff seed would be determined by the flip of the same coin.
The winner is set to play South Houston while the loser gets Pearland in next week’s bi-district round.
“We felt like this was an opportunity to simply get another game in,” Williams said on Thursday. “I am a routine guy. I like to keep to a schedule. All through district we played games on Tuesdays and Fridays. I wanted to stick to that schedule as closely as I could.”
The Titans (22-7, 9-3) are playing the Bruins (20-8, 9-3) for the fourth time this year. Memorial and West Brook split a pair of district contests after the Bruins defeated the Titans, 63-53, in the championship game of the Nederland Bulldogs Classic.
West Brook then held off Memorial 43-36 in the first round of district play. The Titans scored a 60-54 victory last Friday to force the tie for second.
“West Brook is a very talented basketball team,” Williams said. “They have a big guy in (Michael) Zeno, they have so many shooters and they play defense. They have all the intangibles a team needs to make a deep run in the playoffs. I really believe that.
“One big similarity between the two teams is Coach (Samuel) Simon has had this group of players since they were sophomores. It is the same time frame that I have here at Memorial.”
One shooter for Memorial Williams said Titans fans need not worry about is Torian Lott. Lott has struggled with his shot over the last few games but has caught his coach’s eye in other areas of the game.
“He is showing great leadership over the last few weeks,” Williams said. “He is rebounding, getting assists and he always plays tough defense. That is what I really need him to keep doing is playing that Torian Lott defense. The shots will come. He is too good a shooter to have this continue much longer. He just has to keep up the work in other areas and that part will come back to him.”
Williams sounded a whole lot different on Thursday than in the past few weeks. He had watched his team go from No. 7 in the state to back-to-back losses in district. Memorial then had several close games coupled with a loss to North Shore.
Winning cured all those problems as the Titans are on a three-game winning streak after big victories against Baytown Sterling, West Brook and La Porte.
“The more we can play the better right now,” Williams said. “We are excited to get the chance to play this game. Against West Brook I really am looking for sound defense and great effort from player. We are excited to be able to lace up the shoes another time. A lot of teams are putting uniforms up. We are blessed to not being doing that this week. We are fortunate enough to be one of the teams who reached the playoffs.”