Six straight: Titans snap Rangers’ surge with usual formula

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Well, this wasn’t the 93-86 double-overtime track meet Port Arthur Memorial lost at Baytown Sterling almost a month ago.

And, this isn’t the same Memorial team that lost that heartbreaker. In fact, the Titans haven’t lost since.

Memorial’s win streak improved to six games Tuesday following a 55-48 home win over Sterling. It was a key victory for the District 21-6A leading team, which has a half-game lead over North Shore with three games remaining.

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The winning streak barely stayed alive Friday after Memorial escaped with a 64-62 win at Deer Park. That put the Titans above the .500 win percentage for the first time this season.

Now, the Titans (13-11, 7-2) are still in the driver’s seat for a district championship. They’ll visit La Porte on Friday and take next Tuesday off with West Brook at home and North Shore on the road remaining.

But Sterling (10-11, 3-5) nearly put the brakes on the streak, storming from trailing 33-22 late in the third quarter to go up 37-36 with 5 minutes to go. That lead lasted only 20 seconds.

Lane violations wiped out two made free throws by the Rangers, and Jealon King completed a three-point play to put the Titans back in front. That started an 11-0 run Sterling would not recover from.

The closest the Rangers would come to was within five points twice in the final 2 minutes. But the usually cool-handed Titans converted 14 of 15 free throws in the period to keep an arm’s length.

And Memorial earned its opportunities the usual way — causing backcourt turnovers and capitalizing at the line, if not scoring a field goal off the steal. For the game, Memorial shot 21 for 30 in free throws, compared to Sterling’s 16 for 27.

For a rematch of a 179-point tilt, the offense was lacking by both teams in the early going. Sterling refused to settle for jumpers but was heavily contested on its drives to the basket by Memorial’s rangy defenders, and fell behind 10-6 after one quarter.

The Titans went ahead 22-13 after a Darion Chatman drive to the hole, but a little run by the Rangers closed the deficit to 22-17 at halftime.

Sterling seemed to find its rhythm late in the third quarter to begin a key run that eventually gave the Rangers the short-lived lead.

Wesley netted 11 points, and Reao Keller and Chatman each scored 10 points to lead the Titans. Jesus Torres had 16 points to guide the Rangers, with Elijah Stanislas and Chris Rodriguez each having nine.


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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