District drama: Titans-Dogs hoop nailbiter highlights close calls around area

Published 1:48 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Port Arthur Memorial boys basketball coach Kenneth Coleman urged Thailan Wesley to keep shooting, although Wesley wasn’t making many shots for much of the game.

Wesley wound up making two clutch three-point baskets, including one with 7 seconds left that gave the Titans a 61-60 win over Nederland in a big District 22-5A clash.

“They just gave me too much room, and I just had to take a shot,” Wesley said.

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Coleman said shooters like Wesley, who finished with 20 points, have to keep shooting.

“If we don’t want him to shoot the ball, we’ll take him out the game,” Coleman said. “That’s our philosophy right there. We always want our shooters to shoot the ball. We never want them to lose confidence.”

The Titans (23-5, 11-1 in 22-5A) remained tied for first in the district with Central, which picked up a 49-37 win over Port Neches-Groves in Beaumont.

The defeat cost the Bulldogs (24-9, 7-5) third place in 22-5A. Ozen (19-8, 8-4) beat Livingston 83-39 to move one game ahead of Nederland.

But Nederland was just 19 seconds away from a big win.

Darrell Jones knocked down two bonus shots to break a 58-all tie. Memorial worked the ball around the perimeter, and Wesley took a pass from the right wing and made an off-balance three-ball with 7 seconds left. Nederland called for time with 5.2 to go.

Hayden Hefner took a full-court pass and fired a contested three-point shot from the left corner that went short. The Bulldogs got to inbound the ball again after an official had to overturn an out-of-bounds call as Darion Chatman did not secure the rebound cleanly.

Chatman managed to deflect the last pass intended for Kevin Howard in the low post before time expired.

Tyler Guidry scored 17 points and Darion Chatman added 10 in the win. Howard led Nederland with 18 points, followed by Jones’ 13 and Reid Garrett’s 12.


BEAUMONT — Jakobe Dill canned four three-point baskets in the first quarter and led the Jaguars (21-8, 11-1 in 22-5A) with 14 points in a 12-point win over the Indians (6-20, 2-10).

Dill accounted for half of the Jaguars’ three-pointers. Mason Senigaur had two of them in the win.

Edsel Damo carried the long-range hot hand for the Indians with three treys. He led the team with 12 points, while Derrick Papa added nine.

All seven of PNG’s players scored. The Indians had five treys.



Aimee Bates said her PNG soccer players beat themselves at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

Funny thing is, PNG (10-1-1, 3-1 in 22-5A) won the match.

“We made it harder than it was,” Bates said. “They are a great team, but no matter who we play, we have to find a way to beat them, open them up and attack them.”

Mackenzie Tindel chalked up the winning goal 3 minutes into the second overtime.

Daphne Reyes finished with nine saves for the Titans (5-4-1, 2-2), a sign of a standout defensive effort for Phillip Mattingly’s team.

Julisa Tejada and Arianna Fernandez were credited again for their stellar defense.

“They played high-pressure, which forced us to make errors,” Bates said. “We could never find our rhythm. We struggled finding the target. We had trouble getting in behind their defense and getting a good look at the goals.”

Libbie LeJeune had two saves in the win.

PNG visits Lumberton on Friday, while Memorial hosts Ozen.


BEAUMONT — For the second time in eight days, the Bulldogs (8-1-2, 2-1-1 in 22-5A) won a game 16-0.

Meg Sheppard scored four goals. Madison Ledet, Emma Roccaforte, Abigail Albright and Jada Hoang each had two goals, while Abigail Gray, Haley Plumley and Phoebe Short each scored one.

Nederland beat Central by the same score last Tuesday.



PORT NECHES — As if one scoreless PNG-Memorial soccer match in regulation wasn’t enough, the boys teams did the same at The Reservation.

Preston Riggs netted both of the Indians’ goals off Christian Davalos assists, and PNG (11-1-2, 4-0 in 22-5A) remained atop district standings.

PNG coach Chad Luttrull was excited about the defense Chase Gordon played.

“Memorial had some opportunities, but Chase is so darn fast,” Luttrull said, adding Gordon managed to track down Memorial’s shooters and make stops.

The Indians hit the crossbar two or three times in the first half but didn’t test the Titans’ goalkeepers in the second, Luttrull said.

“We finally started shooting in overtime. When we shoot, we have a chance to score.”

Nick Verbrekt earned the shutout win. Saul Ayon made 14 saves for the Titans.

PNG will host Lumberton on Friday. Lumberton beat Central 2-0.

Memorial visits Ozen on Friday.


NEDERLAND — The Bulldogs outshot the Panthers 14-2 and got off to a great start with two first-half goals by Travis Wiedenfeld off free kicks.

Logan McRae headed in another goal off Hunter Banta’s corner kick early in the second half. Banta scored off a half-volley, taking a cross from Eric Aviles, and Salvador Contreras accounted for the final goal on a breakaway.

Nederland hosts Vidor on Friday.



NEDERLAND — The Titans went out as winners.

Senior Kennedi Lofton had 16 points and five blocks, and sophomore Julia Sion scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Memorial (6-23, 5-9 in 22-5A) ended their season on a winning note. Richlyn Williams added eight points in 6 minutes during her final game.

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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