Chatman for the win: Titan junior’s late basket sinks Panthers

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Darion Chatman handled the ball on Port Arthur Memorial’s final possession, but the final play was not drawn up for him.

Bothered by a left knee injury, Chatman drove to the hole in thick traffic and made the game-winning layup with 6.9 seconds left Tuesday in a 68-67 win over Ozen.

“It was a broken play,” the junior guard said. “The play was for if [Ozen] came out in man, but they came out in a 2-3. I just happened to beat their guard off the dribble and I got the screen from Jomard [Valsin] to get the layup.”

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The win ended Ozen’s three-game winning streak against Memorial (15-5, 3-1), dating back to last season.

“Anytime you can get a win against Ozen, that’s big for your program,” said Memorial coach Kenneth Coleman, who earned his first win over the perennial power from Beaumont. “Ozen is one of the top programs in the state of Texas. We definitely don’t take that lightly. This program needs a win like that.”

Chatman finished with 21 points and was one of three Titans in double-figure scoring. He did not appear to play with pain from the injury he suffered while doing squats during a weightlifting session.

“My legs gave out,” the junior guard said. “When I did a crossover, it gave out again. I was happy Jomard was there for the screen so I could get the layup.”

Ozen (13-6, 3-1), which had won four straight overall, had one last crack at a fifth straight. Trevonte Reed pushed the ball down the court to Emmanuel Hafford, but Hafford’s one-hand leaner with a defender on him would not rattle in as time expired.

“That stop right there, that was the one we needed for the game,” Chatman said.

The Panthers blew a 66-60 lead with 2:11 left, but the Titans had plenty to do with that. Chatman scored off a backcourt steal right after Valsin made a bucket to slice the margin to 66-64. After Ozen made 1 of 2 free throws, Thailan Wesley turned another Ozen turnover into two points to pull the Titans within 67-66.

The Panthers had broken the press in transition, but a bounce pass got away from a player near the basket, giving the Titans an opportunity.

Ozen’s largest lead was 42-34 midway through the third quarter, but Valsin scored three straight Memorial baskets to make the game close. A 6-0 start to the fourth quarter gave Memorial a 55-52 lead before Ozen shifted momentum its way.

“They had done a good job disrupting what we normally do,” Coleman said. “… The kids [from Ozen] do an excellent job buying into the game plan, and we had to be patient. Our game plan is always to disrupt their offense.”

Thailan Wesley had 15 points and Valsin had 13 for the Titans. Courtland Pender led Ozen with 19 points, Tyler Broussard chipped in 15 and Kevin Dotson had 10.

Memorial visits Nederland on Friday.

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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