The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Death by a thousand cuts can bring down even the mightiest foe. That’s exactly how the Port Arthur Memorial boys basketball team took down district-leading North Shore in a 52-49 victory at Memorial Gym Tuesday in District 21-5A play.
Memorial (16-11, 6-3) got contributions from the entire team to overcome a 26-17 halftime deficit and dealt the Mustangs their first district loss since Feb. 8, 2011. North Shore had won 18 straight district games until Tuesday’s upset at the hands of Memorial. The victory also guaranteed Memorial one of 21-5A’s playoff spots.
“It was a team effort,” Memorial head coach Travis Williams said. “When you play together as a team, that’s great. I’ll take that every day. We beat a very good team that was 18-0. Now, we’re in the playoffs. We control our own destiny. I told them I’m going to work them even harder.”
After playing the Mustangs to an 11-11 tie in the first quarter, the Titans went over five minutes without making a basket in the second. North Shore increased the lead to 22-11 before Memorial made a basket. The Titans were able to cut it to nine by halftime, as their head coach talked to them about not letting up.
“Coach Lance (Robertson) made a statement last night,” Williams said. “He was watching the West Virginia/Kansas game, said that West Virginia was down 20, but cut it to one. We’re on our home turf, so let’s not get down. It’s just a matter of not quitting. We told them to win this ballgame, we need to make plays. Not just making shots, but take care of the basketball, play defense or get a big rebound. That’s what we did.”
Sophomore post Dorian Chatman cut the Mustangs in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his game-high 18 points. Chatman also dominated the boards, grabbing rebounds and putting back several shots for second-chance points. Chatman finished the game with six rebounds and two blocks.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore had his hands full with 6-foot-8 senior Johnathan Motley of North Shore. The Baylor commit held Chatman in check in the first half, but never got much going offensively and finished the game with just three points.
On Chatman’s back, Memorial cut the North Shore lead to 39-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the entire team started chipping in, as Memorial went 6-for-8 from the floor and hit three of four 3-pointers. The Titans got two big 3-pointers from Albert Jacobs and Geremiah “Buddy” Lofton, with Lofton hitting his over the imposingly outstretched arms of Motley.
Down 45-41, Memorial got two straight baskets from junior forward Joseph Williams to tie the score. After North Shore’s Jalin Hart hit one of two free throws on the other end, Chatman was also sent to the line with 1:53 to play. The sophomore nailed both free throw, giving Memorial its first lead since the first quarter.
After Motley picked up an offensive foul trying to slam home a putback, junior point guard Torian Lott knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Titans a 50-46 lead with 1:25 to play.
Finally, sophomore reserve C.J. Levine picked up a rebound after an errant Mustang 3-pointer by Brandon Etienne and was fouled. He calmly knocked down both free throws to give Memorial a 52-47 lead with 25.6 seconds to play.
“C.J. hit some big free throws,” Williams said. “That was big when he hit those. It helped us close out the game and was in a very tough spot.”
Lott finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds and a block while Jacobs had nine points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. North Shore was led by Kerwin Roach, who had 14 points.
Memorial is off on Friday before returning to action at Baytown Sterling next Tuesday and sits a half-game back of Beaumont West Brook for second place in 21-5A.
Port Arthur Memorial 52, North Shore 49
NS 11 15 13 10 — 49
PAM 11 6 16 19 — 52
PAM: Dorian Chatman 18, Torian Lott 10, Albert Jacobs 9, Joseph Williams 6, Buddy Lofton 3, Ron Taylor 2, C.J. Levine 2, Jayden Poledore 2.
NS: Kerwin Roach 14, Geren Mills 9, Brandon Etienne 8, Jalin Hart 7, Jarrey Foster 5, Jonathan Motley 3, Aaron Smith 2.
Statistics — Rebounds: Memorial 23 (Lott, Chatman, Jacobs 5); North Shore 26 (Motley 10). Assists: Memorial 7 (Jacobs 3); North Shore 1. Steals: Memorial 5 (Jacobs 2); North Shore 4 (Mills 2). Turnovers: Memorial 12, North Shore 8. Fouls: Memorial 11, North Shore 11. 3-pointers made: Memorial 4 (Lott 2, Lofton, Jacobs); North Shore 2 (Hart, Mills).
Records: Memorial (16-11, 6-3); North Shore (24-4, 7-1).
Next: Memorial at Baytown Sterling, Feb. 5.