PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 11, 2013

PREP HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Port Arthur Memorial girls prepare for playoffs

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

— Welcome to the playoffs.

The Port Arthur Memorial girls basketball team kicks off the 2013 Class 5A playoffs on Tuesday when they face Pasadena Memorial at 7 p.m. at Channelview. Let’s get to know the Lady Mavericks a little it and see how they did this season.

Pasadena Memorial (19-11, 11-4) made the playoffs as the third seed from District 22-5A. Pasadena Memorial made the playoffs for the third straight season, but lost in the bidistrict round the past two seasons. Last year, the Lady Mavericks fell 61-39 to Port Arthur Memorial and lost to North Shore the previous year.

Since the school was founded in 2003, Pasadena Memorial has made the playoffs four times including this season. The Lady Mavericks have yet to win a playoff game, but have a suffocating scoring defense this season that may lead the way to a program first.

Pasadena Memorial is averaging 44.3 points per game this season while allowing just 39.9 points per game. In their last four, the Lady Mavericks gave up 20, 23, 32 and 43 points and have only allowed over 50 points three times in the last 18 games. Meanwhile, Port Arthur Memorial is averaging 57.5 points per game and has allowed 42.7 points per game.

Of Pasadena Memorial’s four district losses, two of them came to No. 7 Manvel (31-3). The Mavericks lost 70-22 to Manvel in the first half and then 79-17 in the second half of district play. The Mavs split with Pearland, losing 49-28 at Pearland and beating the Lady Oilers 44-43 to end the season.

The Lady Mavericks are 6-1 in their last seven games, with that 79-17 loss to Manvel the only black mark on their finishing kick. Over that stretch, Pasadena Memorial didn’t see its scoring average budge from 44.3 points per game, but locked down on the defensive side. The Lady Mavs saw their points allowed per game average drop 4.5 points to 35.4 ppg.

If the Lady Titans get past Pasadena Memorial, the playoff road gets tougher in a hurry. In the area round, Memorial is likely facing a matchup with the No. 3 team in Class 5A, Clear Springs (33-2). The Lady Chargers last lost to Plano West 107-105 on Dec. 28.

That’s not the only obstacle, as Memorial would  likely face a matchup with the aforementioned No. 7 Manvel in the regional quarterfinals and with No. 4 Bellaire in the regional semifinals. In fact, if the bracket breaks right, the Titans could actually face their lowest ranked opponent in the regional final. The highest ranked team in the second half of the Region 3 bracket is No. 22 Katy Seven Lakes.

Memorial is talented enough to fight through all those rankings, but it’s going to be tough going for the Lady Titans.

Game of the Week

Nederland at Central – The Bulldogs are on a mission. Since losing twice in the first half of district play, Nederland’s boys have been cruising through the second half of their district schedule. A victory over Beaumont Ozen last week put them in a tie for second place and set up a pivotal last game of the season.

Nederland can clinch a share of a fourth straight district title by beating Beaumont Central on Tuesday. Assuming that Ozen beats Lumberton on Tuesday, District 20-4A would see a three-way tie for first place, just like the 21-5A girls saw last week.

Central finished the first half of district play undefeated, including a 50-40 victory over Nederland at the Dog Dome. However, the Jaguars opened the second half with a 61-49 loss to Ozen that opened up the possibility for Nederland to grab a share of the title.

Since that loss to Ozen, Central has won five games with an average victory margin of 39 points.

PN-G still in playoff hunt

Speaking of that Lumberton/Ozen game, there will be plenty of Indian eyes watching updates on that one. The Port Neches-Groves boys can clinch the fourth and final playoff spot from 20-4A with a Lumberton loss and a PN-G victory over Livingston.

The Indians (11-18, 6-7) have a number of possible playoff scenarios based of the outcome of their game against the Lions. If Lumberton loses, the Indians could lose and force a tiebreaker situation for the fourth seed. If the Raiders pull off an upset of the Panthers, PN-G needs to beat Livingston to stay in that fourth-place tie.

As we mentioned in this space earlier this season, a playoff appearance for the Indians just two seasons removed from their last trip to the postseason would be almost unprecedented. Since 1966, PN-G has only made the playoffs three times total and has never been to the playoffs twice in a three-year stretch.

Since beginning the season 2-10, PN-G has gone 9-8 to put itself in position for the postseason.

Memorial’s Williams set to return

Finally, some good news about Port Arthur Memorial head coach Travis Williams, who missed Friday’s game against Beaumont West Brook because of a problem with his heart medication. Williams was back at school at Monday and set to coach the team in the regular season finale against La Porte.

Williams, 42, suffered a mild heart attack following a game in December 2010 when he was head coach at Silsbee. He’s been on medication since then, which helps him be as energetic and vocal on the sidelines during games as he wants.

We wish Williams well and hope to see him back on the sidelines soon.

David Coleman covers high school sports for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at m.david.coleman@gmail.com