Lady Titans, Indians leaving mistakes behind ahead of anticipated clash

Published 12:12 am Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Memorial Lady Titans and Port Neches-Groves Indians are propelled toward Friday’s game in Port Neches with solid district wins from Tuesday. They figure they can continue doing well if they just keep past mistakes from distracting them.

“There are times when we kind of panic when things aren’t going our way,” Indians head coach Kara Skinner said. “I think if we’d be a little more patient, let the play kind of develop, then we would probably end up a little better. We could score a whole lot more if we do that, and we can eliminate a lot of the turnovers if we could just be patient.”

Lady Titans head coach Kevin Henry observed something very similar in his own team.

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“Sometimes we wear our feelings on our sleeves, and if things don’t go our way early, then we start thinking about it and worrying about it and carrying it with us into the next play,” he said. “But I’m starting to notice they’re learning to leave the play alone. When it’s over, it’s over. We’ve got to make the next flight, so as long as they continue to do that and don’t dwell on the past, I know we’ll continue to progress.”

The teams will renew their rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday in Port Neches after a pair of one-point decisions last year, both of which Memorial won en route to a share of the District 21-5A championship.

PNG (14-8, 2-1 in 21-5A) played great basketball in the first half of the Nederland game, Skinner said. Britney Brevell had a standout performance with eight points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists in a 58-44 PNG victory.

Skinner said Brevell and the rest of the team continue to improve alongside Mollee Priddy, who scored 15 with five assists, four rebounds and two steals and fellow playmaker Maylin Stampley, who put up 18 points, five steals and four assists.

“I think we’re starting to get more out of our bench,” Skinner said. “We’re getting more out of our starting five besides just Maylin and Mollee. I think that, because of that, we’re getting going in the right direction. We’re starting to offset the offense that we normally get from Maylin and Mollee. We’ve desperately needed some more players to step up on offense, and as long as that continues, I think we’re going to be fine.”

The development of the rest of the team is something else Henry observed, this time in the Indians.

“They move the ball real well,” Henry said. “They do a good job communicating. Their two main players do well when they get them going — Stampley and Priddy — but I know the other girls are just as capable, if not even more able to step up and produce. I know a lot of the focus is on those two players but I think the others play just as much a valuable load as those two.”

Henry said his Titans (5-16, 2-1) showed maturity in their win over Vidor on Tuesday, and that they’re capable of playing all 32 minutes of the game.

“That was a big difference from what we did in the previous game against Barbers Hill,” he said. “We were able to play a much stronger second half than we have in the past, so I guess a little growth and maturity is showing.”

Henry said the Lady Titans each did their jobs well and executed in the second half.

Jordan Duncan scored 17 on Tuesday against Vidor, and Jacqualyn Gibbs added 10 along with 10 rebounds. Kaila Jackson produced with eight rebounds.

“Arianna Chandler came in and was aggressive on the offensive end,”Henry said. “LaKorian Fontenett was also aggressive on the offensive end. Jordan Duncan was able to knock down some shots, and we’d been missing our perimeter game the last couple of games, so she was able to hit some perimeter shots along with those other two.”

If the Lady Titans continue to execute like they did against Vidor, Henry believes that will give them their edge.

“Our best asset going into the game is if we go out there and execute,” Henry said. “(Tuesday) we were able to execute, especially after halftime. After halftime, we made our adjustments, and we held them to some buckets and limited their scoring in the second half.”

Skinner recognizes the role Henry plays in the Titans’ progress.

“Coach Henry is a good guy, I think a lot of him, so you never can count any of his teams out,” Skinner said. “I think he’s always going to pressure you. He’ll always find a way to pressure the ball. He finds a way to use his speed to his advantage, so if anything, that’s always something I take into consideration. I know he’s always going to have somebody to pressure the ball. I try to prepare my kids for that.”