, Port Arthur, Texas

December 13, 2012

Lady Titans open 21-5A title defense

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Repeating isn’t easy, but the Lady Titans seem to be on a mission this year to do just that.

Friday, the Port Arthur Memorial girls basketball team begins district play by traveling to Beaumont West Brook at 7 p.m. Memorial will be trying to win a second straight district title this year, which is also unfamiliar territory, since last year’s shared crown with North Shore was the first district title in the team’s history.

The Lady Titans find themselves atop the district heap this year after a sterling 12-2 run through a non-district schedule that included a tournament win at the storied YMBL South Texas Shootout.

Memorial is primed for contention again, having averaged 57.3 points per game in its first 14 and allowed 41.8 ppg. The Lady Titans have been led by Ariel Hutchinson, who is again a scoring threat off the bench or in the starting lineup, but have also gotten much improved play from sophomore Joyce Kennerson, who won the YMBL tournament MVP.

West Brook (4-9) has struggled of late. After winning three of their first four games, the Lady Bruins have dropped eight of their last nine. West Brook’s lone victory in that stretch was a 54-41 win over a good Lumberton team in the YMBL.

Memorial beat West Brook both times in district play last year, winning 65-42 at West Brook and 58-24 at Memorial Gym.

All five of the other local teams will have to wait for another district contest. Both the Nederland and Port Neches-Groves girls will play one last non-district game before picking up 20-4A play next Tuesday. Nederland is 1-1 in district games this season, beating Lumberton and losing to Central while PN-G is at 0-2 and still searching for its first district win, falling to Ozen and Livingston.

The Memorial boys (6-7) will close out their scheduled non-district games with a road trip to Little Cypress-Mauriceville (6-8). The Titans have won three of their last five games, but the Titans are coming off back-to-back tough losses to HCYA in the Bulldog Classic championship and a 42-41 loss to Nederland on Tuesday.

Nederland’s boys (9-5) will travel to Silsbee to close out the non-district portion of the schedule. The two teams met already this season in the YMBL bracket, with Nederland grabbing a 57-54 victory over the Tigers. Silsbee (7-6) has won three straight, including wins over PN-G (60-53) and West Brook (69-62).

The Indians (2-9) continue a very tough non-district slate, closing on the road at Hardin-Jefferson (17-1). PN-G has lost four of its last five, but beat two of its last three opponents from 21-3A in Hamshire-Fannett (46-32) and Orangefield (59-51).

H-J has won 15 straight games since falling 70-44 to Central on Nov. 27. That includes tournament wins at the Aransas Pass Tourney and the Hardin-Jefferson tournament.