PORT ARTHUR —
Williams: Time to get back to work
By Gabriel Pruett
The News Sports Writer
There are a lot of coaches once they are ousted out of the basketball playoffs that head to the regional tournament.
Well, let’s hope one wasn’t looking for Port Arthur Memorial coach Travis Williams. He didn’t attend.
There is still a huge part of Williams that believes his Titans should have been the ones cutting down the nets in Houston instead of the North Shore Mustangs getting the honors.
Williams’ saw his Titans defeat the Mustangs, 78-72, in the first round of District 21-5A play. North Shore won the Class 5A Region III final against Fort Bend Bush, 60-58. Bush eliminated Memorial, 37-35, in the regional quarterfinals.
So, to Williams, the 25-8 Titans season ended a little too premature in his eyes.
“This was the longest season in Memorial history since 2009,” Williams said. “I just really wanted to get to that regional tournament for those seniors. The kids played their butts off that night against Bush. It still hurts. I didn’t go to the regional tournament. As a human being, when you see the scores out of our region, you think ‘Damn, that could have easily been us.’”
Instead, the Titans finished off a season that saw many ups and some downs.
Memorial had a great stretch that started at its own tournament, the James Gamble Classic. The Titans won the tournament over the Central Jaguars, 41-39. The big news there is Central is playing in the Class 4A state tournament.
Then came the win against North Shore before back-to-back losses to Baytown Sterling and Beaumont West Brook. Memorial turned its season around with back-to-back wins against West Brook to claim the second seed in 21-5A.
“I am so proud of how hard our guys played this year,” Williams said. “Good things happen when you play hard. You can deal with a loss better if you know your team played hard and our team played hard this year.”
Memorial basketball said goodbye to eight seniors after the loss to Bush. Albert Jacobs, Torian Lott, Joseph Williams, Geremiah Lofton, Roderic Rucker, Darren Williams, Trenton Swinton and Tre’Vaughn Dennis all played their last game for the Titans.
One of the biggest gaps Williams will have to fill is at guard. Lott was a four-year starting guard for Memorial while Jacobs, Rucker and Lofton all gave the Titans huge minutes either starting or off the bench.
“You can’t just go out and find another Torian or another AJ,” Williams said. “What you try to find are guys who can make plays at critical moments. That takes us going back to work. I usually give everyone a week off then it is time for Coach T Camp. That means come back hungry and ready to get better.
“Our program is headed in the right direction. This was my third year here so I want to make sure we are always moving forward and we don’t go backwards.”
What Williams will have next year will be a great inside-outside duo of players with a lot of experience. Dorian Chatman gives Memorial one of the best inside players in the state while Ron Taylor showed through the year he can make almost any shot on the court.
“Next year will be a different season,” Williams said. “How different our style will be depends on the personnel we get on the court. As a coach you have to mold after knowing what type of players you have on the court. We expect more good days ahead for the Titans.”