BATTLE TESTED TITANS — Memorial looking for resurgence after holiday break

Published 12:16 am Saturday, December 23, 2023

The Memorial Titans boys basketball team entered the holiday break on a bitter note with two consecutive losses. However, there are plenty of positives to take away before getting into the heat of district play.

Memorial (10-7, 0-1 in district) dropped its district opener 50-47 to Barbers Hill Tuesday and followed up a 69-56 loss in Louisiana to Iowa Wednesday night.

While the back-to-back losses were not optimal heading into the break, Head Coach Alden Lewis said his team played hard against two highly ranked opponents.

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“We are still in a good position,” Lewis said. “The same thing happened to us last year. We lost the first game and then swept district and won the district championship.

“We are still in a good place. We played tough competition in the regular season, so we are ready to take on our opponents.”

Last year’s squad also dropped its district opener to Barbers Hill before rattling off 20 consecutive wins, all the way to the fourth round of the state playoffs.

Lewis said the team’s defense and chemistry improved the most over the front part of the season.

“We are still gaining chemistry as a team,” he said. “The biggest thing right now is trusting the process and trusting one another. I think we are only giving up 46 points per game.”

Lewis said Amir Young, Kendall Hilstock and Davin Mercer are stepping up for the Titans.

“They bring a lot of versatility, playmaking and the ability to make shots,” Lewis said. “Those guys bring a lot to the team.”

The coach said the responsibility is on the players to stay in shape and in rhythm over the break as University Interscholastic League rules dictate that teams must have a certain number of days without any coach-organized team activity.

“Luckily, my guys are a pretty close-knit group,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they get together and get some conditioning and shots up in a local gym, where they could stay in shape. That way, when they come back, we can get back going.”

The Titans had a voluntary shoot around Thursday at Memorial High School. ‘Several players showed up, along with a few former players looking to keep their skills sharp over the break.

Memorial is slated to participate in the Lee College Classic tournament Dec. 28.

The Titans next district game is Jan. 2 against Baytown Sterling on the road, with Memorial’s next home game not being until Jan. 12 when the Titans host Crosby.