Are you ready for Port Arthur vs. Beaumont? “This is a big rivalry”

Published 12:08 am Thursday, December 19, 2019

Memorial center Nate Clover recalls the gym at Beaumont United High School was packed with rowdy spectators. He says it’s always like that for the Port Arthur vs. Beaumont games.

“The game last year was very hectic,” he said. “There were a lot of fans in the stands, a lot of people out there, it was getting very rowdy. This is Port Arthur vs. Beaumont. This is a big rivalry.”

The crowd was treated to a down-to-the-wire contest that saw the Titans come close to overcoming the Timberwolves’ rally in the final minutes of the game after tying and leading several times previously.

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The Wolves eventually claimed the win, 63-58.

“It was a real good game,” Titans head coach Alden Lewis said. “It came down towards the last couple of minutes, and I know they’re going to come back to Port Arthur ready to play and ready to do exactly what they did last year. We’ve got to be ready to play.”

The rematch takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial High School.

Beaumont United, born of the combination of Central and Ozen high schools in the fall of 2018, is the No. 3 team in Class 6A as of Monday, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

The Wolves’ sole loss in their 13-1 record came from Summer Creek, the No. 2 6A team, at the Carlisle-Krueger Classic semifinal in Houston. They didn’t play Tuesday.

“They’re off to a great start,” Lewis said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and we are, too, so I think we’ll be able to give them a good matchup and hopefully we’ll come out on top. They’re well coached and they’re riding high right now.”

Memorial (13-4) has reason to ride high as well, winning its last four games against Bridgeland, Cypress Woods and Cypress Lakes at the Cy Hoops Invitational last weekend and La Marque during Tuesday’s home game, 56-53. The TABC ranked the Titans at No. 8 in Class 5A.

“I think we’re doing well,” Clover said. “Even though we have some losses, I think we’re still doing well. Last year we were probably looking worse defensively, but this year we picked up our defense.”

“We’re getting better and better each day, and that’s all we ask of the kids, just take each game, each practice day by day and get better each day,” Lewis said.

The Titans will be challenged by the well-rounded Timberwolves, who have great guard play, Lewis said.

“Our guards are going to have to match their intensity,” he said. “I know they have some good players over there, even their forwards. They’re well rounded, but I know they’re really strong in the guard position. We’ve got to be prepared so our guards are going to have to step up and play some good basketball and compete.”

For Clover, competing means making shots, free throws and executing.

“I don’t think I performed as well as I wanted to,” Clover said. “It’s just certain times I couldn’t execute as I wanted to. Sometimes I made dumb plays; I could have made a better spot decision.”

Said Lewis: “We have talent. We’ve just got to get the chemistry together and play as a team. When we play as a team, we’re just as good as anybody in the state.”