Seniors lead Lady Titans basketball to prominence; strong season ends in playoffs

Published 12:44 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

Memorial head coach Kevin Henry knew he had a unique opportunity when the Lady Titans opened the 2022-23 basketball season with a loaded senior class.

The team boasted nine seniors, which included one transferred in from another school and another who was back in the program after a year of not playing.

The veteran coach told Port Arthur Newsmedia such a scenario is a “gift and a curse” because of the raised expectations.

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“Your tolerance for little mistakes is short because you expect so much more out of them with the experience that they have,” Henry said. “I didn’t have to tell them as much about the adjustments we could make. We didn’t have to go into a lot of detail. They understood exactly what we were trying to do. Being around each other for four years, you start thinking the same way.”

That didn’t turn into instant success when the Lady Titans season began, as Memorial got off to a slow start with losses by 1 and 3 points halfway through the season.

Thankfully, the players fought through those challenges and finished the regular season on a scorching stretch, winning eight of their last 10 games to earn third place in 5A Region III District 17.

“We were able to get things rolling in the right direction,” Henry said. “Like I told the seniors, this has been the most successful group since they have been at Memorial. This is our best record we have posted in the last four years, and it is all a tribute to them.”

The Lady Titans entered the playoffs this week with a first round battle against La Porte.

Henry said Memorial came out following the game plan and, in the opening minutes, action on the court unfolded as planned.

“We hit a rough patch at the end of the first quarter with a couple of turnovers that gave them the momentum,” Henry said. “They were able to separate a little bit. In the second quarter, a couple more turnovers allowed them to go on a little run. We came back and tried to regroup after halftime and were able to cut the lead down to 10. But we couldn’t get any closer than that.”

The Lady Titans’ season ended with a 57-40 defeat to La Porte, but that does not take away from Memorial’s season-long positive performance.

“We had some adversity that we had to overcome, just like any other team,” Henry said. “Overall, I thought it was a successful season. We planned to go further than what we did, especially with the seniors we had. I was wishing we could have made a deeper run.”

The Lady Titans are going to be a different squad in 2023-24, but coaches are excited about a successful JV group that included a lot of freshmen this season.

With Memorial losing nine seniors and “basically three and a half starters,” Henry said the size of next year’s team would stand out.

“We were bigger this year and relied on our post and inside presence,” he said. “We won’t be as large and have as much size next year, but we have a lot of quickness.”