Defense still matters: East team stifling for All-Star game

Published 11:55 pm Friday, June 10, 2016

WINNIE — Orangefield’s Jennifer Willis knew the strength of her Christus All-Star Classic basketball team was speed and defense.

The East team did its coach proud Friday at East Chambers High School with a 56-43 win over the West.

“We knew we wanted to run and use the entire court,” Willis said after the win. “Of course, we wanted to be strong on defense.”

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The “of course” comment was in reference to the always-stingy defensive mind Willis has from her days with the Bobcats.

Willis was also able to lead three players she has already coached in their high school careers: Bridge City’s Bailee Bacon, Orangefield’s Sabryn Crain and Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Sheridan Rogers.

“That was pretty special for me,” Willis added.

Bacon finished with four points and four rebounds while Crain added eight points and eight rebounds.

Lumberton’s Hannah Holt was named MVP of the East team.

Port Arthur Memorial’s Autumn Jones added seven points, four steals and one rebound in the victory and Titans teammate Channel Hamilton

finished with six points, five steals and one rebound.

“It was fun,” Jones said. “It was fun to play with all these different players. It was great to get out there and play my last game.”

Yes, it was an all-star game, but Hamilton and Jones showed the same energy as Titans fans have grown to love about the duo through the last several years.

“We have been playing basketball together ever since the fourth grade,” Jones said. “The energy is always going to be there. Playing one last game with Channel was a bittersweet moment. I am going to miss it, but everything comes to an end.”

West Orange-Stark’s Eriel Jordan had four points, three rebounds and one block.

The two teams battled to an 11-11 tie after the first quarter, and it was the East holding a 30-26 lead at half.

The third quarter was when the East started to pull away. The East outscored the West 18-10 in the third and held a 48-36 lead heading into the fourth.

Scoring slowed down in the fourth as the East outscored the West 8-7 in the game’s final frame.

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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