One more shot … Memorial guards will team up as All-Stars

Published 8:16 pm Monday, June 6, 2016

While Channel Hamilton hopes to earn a basketball scholarship, Port Arthur Memorial teammate Autumn Jones is excited for one more high school game.

That’s usually what all-star games provide athletes.

“I think it’s just a great opportunity to end my basketball career,” said Jones, who plans to concentrate on her academics at Prairie View A&M. “I think it’ll be a bittersweet moment, but everything has to go to an end.”

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Hamilton and Jones, backcourt standouts for the Titans, are two of six Jefferson County players named to the Christus All-Star Classic girls basketball game. The event is scheduled to follow the 5 p.m. volleyball game Friday at East Chambers High in Winnie, with the boys basketball game to follow the girls.

Hamilton and Jones will team with Central’s Tondrejanna Clifton and Chatara William on the East s          quad. Ozen’s Whitney Bernard and Chelse’ Gloude will play for the West.

Hamilton is approaching this as her opportunity to land a scholarship from Blinn College, a two-year institution in Brenham. The Buccaneers made the NJCAA tournament with the help of the school’s all-time leading three-point shooter and All-American, Ebony Parker.

So, Friday’s game is a big deal to her.

“Very big,” Hamilton said. “I’m excited to play with one of my teammates also. It’ll be fun because we know each other and we know everybody else.”

Jones and Hamilton had to step up their games this season in the absence of UTEP signee Jakeira Ford, who went down with a knee injury. Jones averaged 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and nearly one steal per game while Hamilton led the team with 1.7 steals per game to go with 9.0-point and 2.4-assist averages, helping Memorial finish 18-13 and make the 6A playoffs. The Titans narrowly fell to Pearland Dawson in the first round.

“They were very big,” Memorial coach Kevin Henry said. “We had lost Channel the previous year with her knee injury. To be able to bounce back and play at the level she did, that was a big task. She did a great job for us.

“Autumn always was a solid player, more known for her defense. She stepped up and probably was our second-leading player down the stretch in districts.”

Henry also could be holding out hope that Jones will decide to continue her basketball career, adding she can be a solid point guard on the NAIA or NCAA level.

While he has six returnees returning for next season, he lost a big senior class that helped the Titans reach the Young Men’s Business League South Texas Shootout final in December. Replacing them will be a task, he said, despite the Titans’ move from District 21-6A to 22-5A.

“Fortunately, my previous years, I’ve had a large group of seniors that’s been the core of the team,” Henry said. “It’s going to be a big task with those six seniors gone. We have Kennedi Lofton, who’s going to anchor us down, and we have five other ones who were on varsity who will be back.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


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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