Titans build season-best streak with comeback

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Welcome to District 21-6A basketball, where the championship race is wide open and anything can happen.
Including 19-point turnarounds.
Port Arthur Memorial dug out of a 38-27 hole and rode a 24-point effort by sophomore Darion Chatman to maintain its share (at least) of first place in the district, beating co-leader Channelview 58-50 on Tuesday in Memorial’s Competition Gym. The Titans are now riding their season-best winning streak of four.
“The key is don’t quit, and they don’t let the coaching staff quit,” Titans coach Kenneth Coleman said. “They recognize as long as we’ve got time, we’ve got hope. They just add another gear. They’re just very determined right now.
For the second straight game, the Titans (11-11, 5-2 in 21-6A) needed a big turnaround to win. They went from 30-18 down at halftime to beat North Shore 62-57 on Friday, creating a three-way tie with North Shore and Channelview.
This time, the situation was a little more urgent. Channelview (8-8, 4-3) was up 38-29 after a turnover-filled third period for both teams in which only the Falcons could capitalize. It was 20-all at halftime.
“These kids, this is the first time we’ve been in this position here where we’re fighting for first place, and there’s a lot of anxiety going on,” Coleman said. “So, we just needed to calm down.”
“Coach just gave us a good talk at the end of the third quarter and told us to come out and we’ve got to play,” Chatman said. “We just slowed down and played Titan basketball. … We’re going to make them run but we’re going to play slow. We’ve got to play at our pace.”
That strategy led to a 12-2 run to give the Titans their first lead since the Falcons’ Travon Shelvin banked a three-point basket at the first-half buzzer to even the score. Sophomore Thailan Wesley scored seven of his nine points in the period, and Memorial made 13 of 14 free throws after going 5 of 11 through the first three frames.
“We shoot 48 minutes of free throws every practice,” Chatman said after making 9 of 12. “No talking at the line.”
Chatman took over in the clutch and had 14 points in the period, including a three-point basket from the right wing at the 2:42 mark to bump the lead up to 49-45. The Falcons committed an offensive foul and travel before making two free throws to pull within 49-47, but Reao Keller scored off the break to make it a two-possession game with 1:10 remaining.
Chatman then scored off a steal and made 3 of 4 three throws, all but closing the door on the Falcons.
Wesley and Keller each had nine points and Hinton added eight for Memorial. Channelview (no roster available) had two double-digit scorers.
Memorial visits Deer Park on Friday.
“I still don’t even have all my system in, so I knew we were going to be a much better team come this time of season,” Coleman said. “All we had to do was continue to work hard until success showed up, and it’s starting to show up.”

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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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