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GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Lady Titans try to keep up pressure

The Memorial Lady Titans nearly had a playoff win against Friendswood last season in their first bi-district playoff appearance since 2016.

They had narrowed the Mustangs’ lead to 1 with 6:16 remaining, but Friendswood came back with a 13-point run that sent the Lady Titans back home to Port Arthur.

Memorial still came home with a District 21-5A championship claim shared with Barbers Hill, and it was the team’s first season in the district. The trick will be to keep the energy going for the new season.

“To make it all the way, we have to play for 32 minutes in-your-face defense and keep the pressure offensively,” head coach Kevin Henry said. “We have to improve on rebounding and become more efficient offensively.”

Henry enters his ninth season with the Lady Titans, bringing with him a 139-94 record. The first of his team’s two district titles under his guidance came during his first season. Last season he led Memorial to an 11-1 District 21-5A record (17-12 overall).

“I’m eager and ready to see what the 2019–2020 Lady Titans are going to do,” he said. “These girls have experienced success on every level they have played, and I expect that to continue.”

Some of that experience will come from the returning seniors who got a taste of the playoffs last year: guard/forward Jacqualyn Gibbs (5-feet-10), guard Jordan Duncan (5-5), guard Lakorian Fontenett (5-6), guard Aniyah Brannon (5-7) and forward Kaila Jackson (5-10).

To make it back, Henry believes his players will need to improve on their communication and limit turnovers.

“We must take care of the ball, maximize our offensive opportunities and minimize our opponents’ offensive opportunities,” he said.

Henry also knows that his girls will work well together.

“I like their togetherness,” he said. “They are like a little family that looks out for each other. They are always trying to prank someone but yet, when it’s time to work, they are all in and fully committed.”

The Titans play two scrimmages, one at Beaumont at 9 a.m. Saturday, and one at Baytown Tuesday (Nov. 5) at 4 p.m., and begin their season at Humble Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.