The Port Arthur News
Gone were the turnovers that plagued Memorial last year. The Lady Titans played better in an area round rematch with Clear Springs, but weren’t quite good enough to overcome the shooting prowess of the Lady Chargers Saturday. The Port Arthur Memorial girls basketball team lost 71-59 to No. 3 Clear Springs at Channelview in a Class 5A area round matchup.
Memorial lost to Clear Springs last year in the area round, as well, turning the ball over 18 times and making just two baskets in the first quarter of that game.
The Lady Titans fixed some of the things they did wrong in that game, not turning the ball over and keeping the Lady Chargers from getting many second chance opportunities.
However, they couldn’t keep Clear Springs from shooting the lights out.
“We were right there in it,” Memorial head coach Kevin Henry said. “That’s all you can ask. They extended it a little in the fourth, but we were right there. Our girls played for 32 minutes. They didn’t quit. They just came up a little short.
“We redeemed ourselves from last year, when they beat us by 22 or 23. To overcome all the obstacles we did this year and to see this team improve over the year, that’s all you can ask for.”
Memorial held an big 34-26 edge in rebounds for the game, with much of the credit there belonging to senior Loren Evans. The 5-foot-11 Evans had 13 rebounds in the game to go along with four points and two steals.
That edge wasn’t enough, though, to erase the effect of a potent Clear Springs offense. The Lady Chargers made 8 of 11 shots in the first quarter and shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half. That helped them take a 36-31 lead into halftime.
“That’s the thing with a shooting team,” Henry said. “You can’t miss. We were off a little on a couple of threes early. They just had a better day today. Clear Springs is a good team. There’s a reason why they’re No. 3. When they shoot like that, it’s hard to beat them.”
Memorial led briefly in the first quarter, as the Lady Titans forced Clear Springs into turnover after turnover. Memorial held a 11-8 lead in the first, but Clear Springs ended the quarter on a 10-6 run that gave them back the lead for good.
In the second, that Lady Charger shooting extended the lead, as Kaylin Roher hit three 3-pointers as part of her 17 total points. Memorial was able to limit Clear Springs to just 48 shots in the game, which was a goal of Henry’s heading into the contest.
What hurt the Lady Titans was not making enough of their own opportunities. Memorial shot 24 of 60 from the floor and made just 35 percent of its shots in the first half. Senior Ariel Hutchinson had a slow start to the game, scoring four points in the first half but finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and seven assists.
Hutchinson was one of a number of Lady Titan seniors playing in their final game.
“It’s going to be a big loss,” Henry said. “Ariel is a great leader on the court. Dorcieve (Davis) has good size and soft touch. It’s hard to find a player like that. Loren (Evans’) aggressive rebounding and aggressive play period will be missed. Crystal Sallier brought aggressive defense and hit a few 3-pointers for us. Sommer Harris came in, fought through some injuries earlier this season, but helped us. With Jamecia Shaw, it’s going to be a big loss.
“But, we’re going to reload. We don’t rebuild, we reload around here. We have some youngsters that didn’t get a chance to play much tonight, but they got some varsity experience this year.”
Fellow senior Crystal Sallier scored eight points with three rebounds, one assist and two steals. Jamecia Shaw scored five points with one rebound and one steal while Dorcieve Davis had six points, three rebounds and an assist.
Davis got into foul trouble early, which forced Henry to play freshman forward Jakira Ford early in the game. Ford responded with six points and three rebounds in the first half before landing on an opponent’s foot when she went up for a rebound.
“She came down on someone’s foot, roller her ankle,” Henry said. “She already had some foot problems coming into the game, but played through it. We had to get her out, but she came back in and played well.”
Ford fought through the pain and returned to the game in the third quarter, when Memorial stormed back from a double-digit Clear Springs lead to cut it to 52-45 by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Ford scored seven points in the third, finishing the game with a team-high 15 points, five rebounds and a block.
“Jakira played well for us,” Henry said. “For her to get that experience with Joyce (Kennerson), they’re going to help next year when we come back with a vengeance. A district title is nice, but when we start our season tomorrow, our goal is to be state champs. There’s small goals along the way, district, winning tournaments, but our goal when it’s all said and done is to be state champs.”
Clear Springs point guard Brooke McCarty had a game-high 24 points with two rebounds, four assists and three steals. The Lady Chargers advance to play Manvel in the regional round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Memorial ends the season at 27-7 with the most single-season wins in program history.
Clear Springs 71, Port Arthur Memorial 59
PAM 17 14 14 14 — 59
CS 18 18 16 19 — 71
PAM: Jakira Ford 15, Ariel Hutchinson 13, Crystal Sallier 8, Joyce Kennerson 7, Dorcieve Davis 6, Jamecia Shaw 5, Loren Evans 4.
CS: Brooke McCarty 24, Kaylin Roher 17, Courtnie Latham 17, Ryshinique Ball 8, Jo Ann Lira 2.
Statistics — Rebounds: Memorial 34 (Evans 13); Clear Springs 26 (Ball 9). Assists: Memorial 10 (Hutchinson 7); Clear Springs 15 (Lira 7). Steals: Memorial 9 (Kennerson 3); Clear Springs 12 (Ball 4). Turnovers: Memorial 17, Clear Springs 19. Fouls: Memorial 15, Clear Springs 11. 3-pointers made: Memorial 6 (Hutchinson 2, Sallier 2, Kennerson, Shaw); Clear Springs 6 (Roher 4, McCarty 2).
Records: Memorial (27-7); Clear Springs (35-2).