Titans one win away from three-peat

Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sometimes things happen in threes.

Port Arthur Memorial is one win away from winning a third straight James Gamble Classic, but for now the Titans are enjoying a three-game win streak.

Darion Chatman scored on a putback off a missed free throw with 19 seconds remaining, and a second stellar defensive effort basically ensured Memorial’s 39-37 win over Beaumont Kelly on Wednesday. Memorial (7-10) will take on Beaumont West Brook or Beaumont Ozen at 6:30 Wednesday for the championship.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I think all the kids contributed,” first-year Memorial coach Kenneth Coleman said. “They’re giving me all they’ve got. It’s a process and stuff, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

It actually took two putbacks and two free throws — to go along with a pair of strong defensive sequences — for the Titans to stay in the hunt for their sixth title in the tournament’s 23-year history.

Thailan Wesley scored off a rebound to tie the game at 35 with 2:19 left. Kelly (15-2), which converted 12 of 21 free throws, missed a pair at the 1:56 mark, but had a few chances in the final minute to win.

The Bulldogs got a stop with about 30 seconds left and called timeout. But Memorial’s full-court press forced a wild scramble into what would have been Kelly’s frontcourt, and Nelson Mitchell was fouled on the recovery.

He missed his bonus shot, but Chatman was there for his only two points of the game.

“I wasn’t hitting a shot the whole game,” the sophomore and brother of Lamar freshman Dorian Chatman said. “That was the best shot I had all game. The only shot I hit, that was a big-time shot.”

The Bulldogs made an errant long throw in transition that went out of bounds, and Wesley nailed a pair of insurance free throws with 10 seconds to go.

“That’s the key to any good team, is being able to make stops,” Coleman said. “Our kids did it on consecutive possessions, so we’re excited about that. It’s something we can build on going into the rest of districts.”

Josh Payne drove for a heavily contested layup to pull the Bulldogs within 39-37, and coach James Knowles called for a timeout when it appeared 1-2 seconds were left on the clock.

“I thought there were [some seconds left],” Knowles said, “because I jumped, and I can’t jump unless it’s a timeout. I thought there was a few [seconds]. Somebody’s supposed to be looking at the clock down on the officials’ [floor] and somebody’s watching that down at the time, but if they made that call, that’s the call they made. But everybody can’t look and nobody see the clock.”

But the buzzer sounded before the timeout was recognized, and one official pointed to the clock before signaling the game was over.

Tyryn Hinton had 14 points and Wesley 12 for the Titans. The Bulldogs were led by Dareiyus Richard’s 12 and Tevin Booker’s 10.

In other James Gamble Classic games Wednesday: in the loser’s bracket, Washington-Marion 75, Houston Kashmere 62; and Hardin-Jefferson 40, Houston Fallbrook Christian 36. Kashmere and Fallbrook are to play for seventh place, while Washington-Marion and Hardin-Jefferson are to play for the consolation final.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.