BOYS BASKETBALL: More history made: Titans reach first regional semis, draw Whitehouse on Friday

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

HOUSTON — When Port Arthur Memorial plays in its first regional basketball semifinal Friday, the Titans will know what playing in Delmar Fieldhouse is like.

The 5A fourth-ranked Titans get a return trip to one of the Houston ISD facilities following a 67-56 win over No. 18 Humble on Tuesday, thanks in part of Jamyus Jones’ 17 points and 11 each from Darion Chatman and Nate Clover.

“We just had to keep the tempo up and start off well and then finish them off,” Jones said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The win is the 22nd in a row for Memorial (30-5), which has extended its school record number of victories and will play in the UIL 5A Region III semifinals against Whitehouse at 7 p.m. Friday.

Friday’s winner will play at Delmar again Saturday for the right to go to the state playoffs in San Antonio. No Port Arthur team has qualified for the state rounds since Thomas Jefferson lost in the 2000 4A semifinals, two years before Memorial’s establishment.

“Everything we do now is history-making,” Memorial coach Kenneth Coleman said. “It’s legacy-leaving for these kids in our program. I came here to build a program, and you have to do these type of things.”

Humble (30-9), the District 21-5A champion, had a 15-game winning streak snapped.

Thailan Wesley, who posted 40 points against Barbers Hill eight days earlier and 25 against Shadow Creek on Friday, was held to 10 points, but he sank a couple of three-point shots that helped the Titans lead by as many as 20 points three times in the third quarter.

“We don’t depend on one guy,” Coleman said. “Usually, when one guy isn’t going, another one steps up.”

Memorial led 35-24 at halftime, basically using a matchup zone defense that forced Humble to attack from the outside. Jaylon Alsanders knocked down Humble’s first two treys, but a 6-2 lead would be the Wildcats’ biggest advantage.

Clover blocked three shots during the first half, and the Titans had success penetrating the Wildcats’ defense to build an 18-13 lead through one quarter.

Clover and Jones combined for a 7-0 run to start the third quarter, putting the Wildcats — who went more than 5 minutes without scoring — in check early. Humble eventually clawed back to within 63-56 behind junior Justin Lawson, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, as the Wildcats capitalized on some late Titan turnovers.

Humble had some crucial miscues as well. The Wildcats had a chance to pull within two baskets after Reao Keller was called for traveling with 50.9 seconds left, but Jomard Valsin stole the ensuing inbound pass that led to Jones’ dagger jump shot and made another steal to end the Wildcats’ hopes.

“We maintained our composure and stuff like that,” Coleman said. “The main thing is, again, it’s about advancing right now, and we’ve done that. We’ve done enough to advance, and that’s all we’re trying to do at this point.”

Ken Washington led Humble with 14 points and Derrick Allison added nine.

Also in 5A Region III

Whitehouse earned a 48-44 decision over Pflugerville Connally in a game that saw multiple technical fouls handed out.

Bryan beat Waco 73-71, and Fort Bend Elkins defeated Houston Madison 84-61. Bryan will take on Elkins at 5 p.m. Friday at Delmar.

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.

email author More by I.C.