In the thick of things: Titans stay in district chase, hold off Bruins

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BEAUMONT — Although it was early in District 21-6A competition, it appeared Port Arthur Memorial was in trouble with two straight losses.
The Titans then blew out La Porte by 22 points at home. One week later, they’re back to above a .500 win percentage in 21-6A.
Sophomore Darion Chatman nailed 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter to finish with a team-high 18 points, and the Titans stayed at most within a game of the district lead with a 63-60 win over West Brook on Tuesday.
“Any district win is big, and then going into somebody else’s house,” Titans coach Kenneth Coleman said.
The win sets up a potential first-place battle with Coleman’s former team, North Shore, on Friday in Port Arthur. North Shore, the 5A state champion two years ago, was 13-9 and 3-1 in 21-6A going into a home game against La Porte.
“It’s going to be exciting,” said Coleman, an assistant to North Shore’s David Green the past two seasons. “Coach Green and I, we’re real good friends. But the big thing, we don’t get to play. The kids have to play. So, we expect it to be a good, competitive game, and both of us are looking forward to it.”
The Titans (9-11, 3-2) and Bruins (5-12, 2-4) were tied at 44 early in the final period when Memorial’s full-court traps changed the game. It resulted in a pair of made free throws for Chatman and back-to-back buckets by Jealon King to make up a 7-0 run.
Center David Chassion helped West Brook hang around with a pair of and-one opportunities as the Bruins clawed to within 52-50. Chatman put the game back in his hands again, making two more foul shots and scoring off the dribble out of a delay offense. Two more made free throws followed, and the Titans had their largest lead at 58-50.
The younger brother of Lamar freshman Dorian Chatman sees himself growing each game.
“I just learned how to calm down, just play my game,” Darion Chatman said. “I play better that way, anyways.”
West Brook frantically knocked the margin back down to three points in the final seconds, but it was too late.
Frantic was no way to describe the first three periods, though. Both teams fought to establish their own rhythm, and Memorial had to make the most of its opportunities at the line.
“It was shaky,” Chatman said. “It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth. I’m glad we came out with the win, though.”
The Titans shot 25 for 40 from the stripe for the game, while the Bruins struggled more, going 17 for 33. Chatman was 8 for 9.
King finished with 12 and Tyryn Hinton had nine for Memorial. Innis Gaines led West Brook with 20, Chassion had 15 and Robert Lester scored nine.

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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.

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