Knights knock out Titans early
Knights 90, Titans 63
Harker Heights (4-1)
Marcus Brown 16, Austin Cherry 14, Devon Clare 19, Lamarcus Freeman 1, Joseph Victorian 8, Kendall Little 11, Antwon Hicks 2, Joseph Tillis 2, Dillon Gooding 4, Chalance Bennett 5, Randy Hughes 2, Anthony Stephens 4, Howard Harris 2.
Tyler Guidry 4, Darion Chatman 9, Tyryn Hinton 2, Reao Keller 3, Dyron Chatman 1, Brock Prejean 6, Kenta Burks 2, Tim Jean 5, Dylan Wilkerson 3, David Torres 2, Thailan Wesley 22, Team 4.
Three-point goals — Harker Heights 3 (Clare 2), Memorial 4 (Wesley 2). Free throws — Harker Heights 21-24 (Brown 7-7, Cherry 7-7), Memorial 19-19 (Guidry 7-7). Fouled out — Darion Chatman. Total fouls — Harker Heights 19, Memorial 27. Technical fouls — None.
BEAUMONT — In just 4 seconds, Austin Cherry scored the first basket of the game for Harker Heights. In just 42 seconds, the Knights had a 6-0 lead on Port Arthur Memorial.
The Titans could never catch up to the Knights, who ran away to a 93-60 win Thursday in Lamar University’s McDonald Gym as part of the Young Men’s Business League/Beaumont Independent School District South Texas Shootout. Memorial (2-4) will face the Beaumont Ozen vs. Houston Pro-Vision loser at 3 p.m. Friday at the Montagne Center.
The blowout led to a long speech by first-year Memorial coach Kenneth Coleman after the game. He was still talking in the locker room minutes after Beaumont West Brook and Longview tipped off.
“You have to meet the challenge,” he said, explaining the message to his team afterward. “This team right here [Harker Heights] is a good 6A team that will come out and pop you in the mouth. You have to be prepared to pop right back. I don’t think we were ready to.”
District 12-6A’s Harker Heights (4-1), based just southeast of Killeen, had plenty to do with 21-6A Memorial’s struggles, beginning with the strong backcourt of Davon Clare, Marcus Brown and Cherry.
Clare, a recent Cal State-Fullerton signee, scored 19 points, Brown 16 and Cherry 14 to lead the Knights. But they were also instrumental in the half-court traps and full-court pressure the Titans struggled to solve.
“He’s a pivotal guy,” said Knights coach Celneque Bobbitt, whose son C.J. in the Summit League at Denver. “He’s a guy we’re expecting to do a lot for us. So, he came out and set the tone for us. So, we got down here and got it done.”
The performance was impressive for a team that has reloaded with 12 new faces from last season’s team, which was ranked as high as No. 4 in 6A before falling in the second round of the state playoffs, Bobbitt said.
Coleman’s guys were held to two field goals in the period as the Knights ran to an eight-point lead.
It was 28-8 early in the second before Memorial found a way to match Harker Heights basket to basket, but the margin never fell below 14 points the rest of the way. The Knights led 44-30 at halftime and went on to lead by as much as 93-57. The Titans, meanwhile, went on a nearly 4-minute scoring drought in the third quarter that saw the Knights go on an 11-0 run to make it 65-36.
Coleman was concerned the Titans may have shown a little lack of confidence after Harker Heights’ quick start, not what he wanted to deal with after picking up a 72-68 win over Houston Fallbrook College Prep on Tuesday.
“It was disappointing, but I don’t think it was from a lack of effort,” Coleman said.
Thailan Wesley scored a team-high 22 points to lead Memorial.
Harker Heights will meet the Pro-Vision—Ozen winner at 6 tonight in the Montagne Center.