Road-warrior Titans back in PA after 32 days

Published 1:37 am Saturday, December 17, 2016

Port Arthur Memorial last played a home game in boys basketball 32 days ago, but played plenty of basketball since.

Even if it meant crunching a bigger number of games in fewer days.

Memorial (8-4) has played 10 games since blowing out Cleveland 82-43 on Nov. 15, but it’s been two tournaments in greater Houston that have really tested the Titans.

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“There’s a reason I put them in those tournaments,” second-year coach Kenneth Coleman said. “My kids had an opportunity to grow up. We faced some adversity. We had some injuries during that time. Anytime you have to play two games in one day or back-to-back like that, it’s going to require that we dig deeper. I think we really grew up. It was the plan from the very beginning to put them against that type of competition.”

Two weeks ago Memorial played five games in three days at the Clear Creek tournament, playing twice that Thursday and Saturday and once Friday. The Titans won their first two games there and finished 3-2.

The next week, they played one game each on three consecutive days at the Houston Methodist Cy-Hoops Festival, going 1-2. All of their opponents in those tournaments compete in Class 6A.

“Tournament play is interesting because you have to adjust the way you play because you play so many games in a row,” Coleman said, talking about the grind of the tournaments. “We got away from some of the things we do real well. When you play a single game, you can let it all go. Well, you can’t do that in tournament play because you can’t do it for five games in a row … really for two games in a row, to tell you the truth, when you’re playing two games in a day.”

Memorial stayed in the Clear Creek area for that tournament but journeyed to and from Port Arthur each day for the Cy-Hoops Festival. It was there Coleman noticed the team still dealt with pains from the first tournament.

But along with the pains came the bright spots.

Coleman liked the defensive effort from the Titans and saw consistent play from senior Bishop James and juniors Thailan Wesley, Reao Keller and Darion Chatman on the offensive end. Wesley has led the Titans for a majority of their 12 games in scoring.

“He probably gets a lot of opportunities and does a good job with it,” Coleman said. “He can shoot the ball. I probably identify him more as a scorer. He’s on the top of the press. Anytime you’re at the top of the press, you’re going to get some opportunities.”

Wesley didn’t seem to mind the grind.

“It gives us a chance to learn form our mistakes and stuff like that,” Wesley said.

The Titans had a chance to get extra rest following a Friday morning practice that followed an abbreviated schedule of classes. They’ll hit their home court today against Fallbrook Christian of Houston with tipoff set 2 p.m.

After that, the Titans will wait 10 days before resuming with their home James Gamble Classic. All that matters to them is they get to be home for the holidays.

“It’s our house now,” Wesley said. “We’re going to take over and win this.”



Memorial received an early Christmas gift and gave the gift of giving in recent days.

The Titans donned their new road and home basketball jerseys while visiting residents at the Gulf Coast Assisted Living Home on Wednesday. The jerseys read “Port Arthur” above the numbers in front and do not include the word “Memorial.”

“I really believe with all my heart, it’s one of those things that ties the whole community together,” said Coleman, a Lincoln alumnus. “When you combine three schools — you had Port Arthur Lincoln, Port Arthur Stephen F. Austin and Port Arthur Jefferson — the one thing we had in common was the Port Arthur piece. … ‘Port Arthur’ separates us from every other Memorial.”

Coleman said the Titans will probably not wear the new uniforms for today’s game as he is waiting on matching shoes to be shipped in.

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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