Ford drops 24, but Memorial stopped in end
Lady Exporters 67, Lady Titans 65
Brazosport 15 20 21 11 — 67
Memorial 19 12 16 19 — 66
Jasmyne Harris 28, Alexis Smith 6, Tia Durgan 1, Falyn Taylor 12, Sydney Holmes 2, Tasia Jones 2, Lornell Fuller 2, Sanobia Cooper 3, Christian Conner 11.
Antonirria Beasley 5, Channel Babineaux 16, Teliah Joyce 3, Autumn Jones 5, Richlyn Williams 3, Victoria Brown 7, Kennedi Lofton 3, Jakeira Ford 24.
Three-point goals — Brazosport 2 (Taylor 2), Memorial 7 (Babineaux 3). Free throws — Brazosport 19-28 (Harris 12-17), Memorial 13-24 (Brown 3-3). Fouled out — Durgan, Cooper; Lofton. Total fouls — Brazosport 23, Memorial 25. Technical fouls — None.
Jakeira Ford willed Port Arthur Memorial back into her team’s home opener, but in the end Brazosport lived up to the word on the back of its jerseys: Relentless.
Clutch free throws in the final 24 seconds and a defensive stop in the end helped last season’s 4A regional finalists escape Memorial’s gym with a 67-66 win Tuesday night, sending the Lady Titans to an 0-2 start.
Brazosport coach Cheryl Williams called the ability to win down the stretch a breakthrough for her team, which includes seven seniors.
“I think this whole team is going to become a better team, better players because of this win,” Williams said, “and this competition … a great place to play in, amazing fan support. [Memorial] is totally amazing. I’ve never seen such great shooting.”
Memorial stormed back from a 54-42 deficit late in the third quarter to take its first lead at 62-61 with 2:39 left in the game. That was the first time the Lady Titans — who started out with a 15-6 lead — were ahead since the Lady Exporters (2-0) went up 22-21 at the 6:10 mark of the second frame.
Ford, the Texas-El Paso signee and standout forward with strong guard capabilities, scored 13 of her team-high 24 points in the final quarter. She completed a three-point play to put Memorial up by one at the 2:39 mark.
Ford, who came off the bench for a second straight game, was held to three points at halftime.
“She ought to be back in the flow right now,” Lady Titans coach Kevin
Henry said. “She’s been going through a little difficult time, but she’s handled it well, so like I say, we’re finna get rolling.”
Henry didn’t go into specifics about Ford’s situation.
Brazosport built a 35-31 halftime lead, taking advantage of second-chance baskets and riding the play of Houston commit Jasmyne Harris, who scored 12 of her game-high 28 points in the second quarter. The guard made 11 of 13 free throws after starting off 1 for 4.
Memorial struggled to match Brazosport’s transition tempo in the third quarter, and forward Christian Conner helped make the Lady Titans pay with eight of her 11 points in the period. Then, Memorial began to turn the table and beat Brazosport at its own game.
“I told the girls, don’t settle for the jumpers,” Henry said. “Attack, attack, attack. They had one girl that had played the whole game, so we knew she was fatigued, and then they had a couple of girls themselves in foul trouble.”
The Lady Titans last led 63-61 with 2:15 left and tied it at 65 with 1:08 to go after Victoria Brown nailed a pair of free throws. A reach-in foul with 23.8 seconds sent Harris to the line to break the tie, and Memorial pulled within 67-66 after Channel Babineaux sank only the second of two free throws with 10.0 seconds to go.
A traveling call in the backcourt gave the Lady Titans a final possession with 6.2 seconds left. But they lost the ball trying to push it cross-court for a final shot, and the Lady Exporters recovered it to run out the clock.
“That’s not what lost the game for us,” Henry said. “We missed 11 free throws.”
Memorial shot 13 for 24 at the line. Brazosport was 19 for 28.
Babineaux had 16 points for Memorial, and Falyn Taylor knocked down 12 for Brazosport.
Memorial will take on Spring Westfield in the Aldine ISD Invitational on Thursday. That game is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Campbell Center, with other tournament games held at four high school sites.