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5A BOYS REGION III QUARTERFINAL: The heat’s still on: Wilson, Washington spark Titans’ surge into Region III semis

Memorial 86, Madison 69

Amaree Abram of Memorial drives past Kevon Green of Madison for a layup in the second half Tuesday in Houston. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Tim Moore Jr. of Madison rejects a shot by Amaree Abram of Memorial in the second half Tuesday in Houston. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 2-27-19

Kenneth Washington Jr. of Memorial shoots a three-pointer as Ronald Harleston of Madison looks on in the second half Tuesday in Houston. Washington made 5 of 8 three-pointers • I.C. Murrell/The News

HOUSTON — Leave it to Kenneth Washington Jr. to turn a game around.

Much like he did against Shadow Creek on Friday, the senior came off the bench to lift Memorial’s offense from the perimeter. His five three-point baskets and Steven Wilson’s 18 points led the Titans to an 86-69 victory over Houston Madison on Tuesday in a UIL 5A Region III quarterfinal at the Aldine ISD’s M.O. Campbell Center.

“It felt the same,” said Washington, who scored all 15 of his points on three-point baskets Tuesday. “Green light, again. Coach said, ‘Nope, go back in there and make some shots.’ We need you right now.”

Said coach Alden Lewis: “He was the turning point. He gave us the boost that we needed. We came out a little flat, but he gave us that energy and that punch we needed to sustain and get the victory.”

Memorial (27-7) will be back at the Campbell Center on Friday to take on Pflugerville Connally, a 55-47 winner over College Station, at 6 p.m. Friday. Manor and Fort Bend Hightower will play in the second semifinal at 8 p.m.

Madison, the District 23-5A co-champion, finished the season 18-12 despite 17 points from Kylon Bryant and 15 from Tim Moore Jr.

The Titans had never been to the fourth round of the UIL playoffs until winning the 5A state championship last year. Now, they’ve reached the Region III final four a second straight time.

Washington knocked down 3 of 5 three-point attempts in the second quarter, willing the Titans from a 32-21 deficit to within 34-33 in a span of 3 minutes, 6 seconds. Ronald Hardeston snapped that rally with a drive to the basket, however, fashioning Madison’s lead at 36-33 at halftime.

The Titans shot 19 for 34 (55.9 percent) from the floor in the second half, thanks in large part of Wilson’s attack of the rim. He shot 5 of 7 in the quarter for 10 points.

“We played our game,” Wilson said. “We got the ball out, and in our half-court, we got shots from Kenny [Washington].”

Memorial made 31 of 63 (49.2 percent) from the floor and 14 of 19 free throws (73.7 percent). Madison made 24 of 55 (43.6 percent) from the field and 17 of 22 free throws (77.3 percent).

Kenneth Lofton Jr. added 13 points and six rebounds, Nate Clover 12 points and four points and Jaden Conner nine for the Titans. Kevon Green scored 11 for the Marlins.

The game was not without chippiness down the stretch between the two teams. Emotions boiled over as both teams exchanged handshakes as well as some jawing, leading security guards to separate them.

“Everything’s good,” Lewis said.

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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