Panthers, Titans pile up fouls in opener
Published 12:41 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015
By I.C. Murrell
The News sports editor
Take away one bad first quarter, and the start of the Kenneth Coleman era at Port Arthur Memorial might have been a totally different story.
Instead, it was just a case of Beaumont Ozen looking like a team that played for a state championship last season.
Ozen shot 35 free throws in the first half — Memorial 22 — and led by double digits for all but the first 3 minutes, 11 seconds of an 89-65 win in both teams’ boys basketball season opener Monday at Memorial.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, we recognize that,” Coleman said. “Again, like I said, I just met my kids in August. So, we’re talking about going up against the No. 2 team in the state in 5A, an established program, made it all the way to the finals and stuff like that. Again, my kids stayed playing hard, I couldn’t ask for anything else like that.”
Ozen made 27 of 35 free throws in the first half — 35 of 46 for the game — and kept Memorial out of rhythm for much of the game. The host Titans connected on 11 of 22 before the half and 15 of 30 for the game.
All told, both teams combined for 55 fouls, 33 of them against Memorial. The Titans committed their eighth foul with 3:28 left in the first quarter and found themselves down 33-13 at period’s end.
“The coaches, their point of emphasis this year is to make you keep your hands off defensively,” Panthers coach Marcus Saveat said. “They came out first game, trying to establish the new rule, and we’re going to have to adjust to what they’re calling.”
Memorial made it a little more competitive in the next 8 minutes but never closer than within 49-36. Ozen led 52-36 at halftime.
John Comeaux and Derrian Jones each scored 20 points to lead Ozen, which went to last year’s 5A state championship game before losing to Lancaster. Josh Boyd, the Ozen football quarterback who’s signing a basketball letter-of-intent with Northwestern State today, had 14 points.
Sophomore Darian Chatman led Memorial with 14, followed by Deon Williams with 10.
Next for Memorial is a visit to Vidor on Friday.