Memorial still reigns in Gamble Classic, takes down 6A second-ranked Summer Creek

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, December 28, 2019

Kenneth Coleman led Memorial to two James Gamble Classic titles, and now Alden Lewis has done the same.

Lewis and his 5A eighth-ranked Titans won the program’s ninth Gamble Classic championship and fourth in a row after knocking off Coleman’s 6A second-ranked Summer Creek Bulldogs 75-52 Saturday evening. It marks the 17th time in the tournament’s 27-year history a team from Port Arthur has won its home tournament, as Lincoln won eight of the first nine titles.

Memorial (18-5) beat a 6A second-ranked team on its second try in nine days. Beaumont United, led by Memorial’s first head coach David Green, won 58-56 in Port Arthur on Dec. 20.

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This time, Lewis — who was on the first Titans team under Green as a senior in the 2002-03 season — topped fellow Port Arthur native Coleman, the man under whom Lewis served as first varsity assistant for three years (2015-18).

“My guys played hard,” Lewis said. “They competed. They went out and played well. They played well all the way to the end. That’s what we wanted to do.”

Oral Roberts signee Nate Clover earned the tournament’s most valuable player honor after scoring 17 points in the win.

“Coach Coleman, he’s a great coach and they like to press, and we just had to overcome that,” Clover said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”

Landin Jackson scored 11 of his 17 points for the Titans in the second quarter, and Louisiana Tech commit Kenneth Lofton Jr., playing through a cramp in his left leg for much of the second half, totaled 15 points.

“It helped Junior and me to get our touches a lot,” Clover said.

Memorial never trailed in the championship game, jumping to a 12-3 lead within the game’s first three minutes. The Titans connected on all six of its 3-point baskets in the first half, going into the locker room with a 40-31 lead.

Summer Creek (18-4) never got closer than within 54-48 late in the third period. Clover scored back-to-back layups as part of a 6-2 run in the final minute to put Memorial ahead 58-48.

Javon Jackson scored 13 points and Dylan Miles threw in 12 for Summer Creek.

Memorial will begin District 21-5A play Jan. 3 at home against Barbers Hill. Those two teams shared the district title last season, with Barbers Hill earning the No. 1 playoff seed in a tiebreaker.

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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