Titans prove defense job No. 1 in 65-34 win over Bears

Published 2:38 am Saturday, December 16, 2017


By I.C. Murrell


Fifty-one seconds into the game, Port Arthur Memorial coach Kenneth Coleman called timeout. His Titans led 2-0, having scored 14 seconds after the tip.

What could have gone wrong so early?

“One of the things we want to do is our job,” Coleman said. “One of the first things we did, we ran a bad play. We had another defense called, and we didn’t get in it. I wanted to make sure they knew from the very beginning of the game that we have to carry our assignments. We have to go from offense to defense, and we have to do it in a hurry, and everybody has to do our jobs.”

The Titans got the message and, in return, held Little Cypress-Mauriceville to one point in the first quarter.

That wasn’t all. LCM didn’t make a field goal until the 5:16 mark of the second period, and Memorial’s defense-creates-offense brand of basketball paid off again in a 65-34 home win Friday night.

“Defense is our No. 1 priority,” said sophomore center Nate Clover, who led Memorial (9-5) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. “We don’t worry about offense. It’s just extra.”

LCM coach Brad Jeffcoat would have liked a little extra out of his offense.

“We came out a little timid,” Jeffcoat said. “We didn’t shoot it well. We didn’t attack. [The Titans are] a good team. One point is something you hope you never see. We were a little shell-shocked. They ran some run-and-jump on us, and we hadn’t seen it before. We need to do a better job handling it.”

The 4A Bears (9-9) shot 4 for 9 from the free-throw line in the first half and trailed the 5A Titans 24-8 at intermission. Braden Bridges tipped in a missed shot to give the Bears their only field goal in the half.

Clover scored many of his points off the offensive glass in posting one of the best games of his young career.

“We’re taught to be more aggressive going to the goal, so that’s what I’ve been doing,” he said.

His double-double game, along with team defense, highlighted the Titans’ first home game in 27 days and second of the season. Memorial played in a showcase in Houston, visited Cypress Falls and played in tournaments at Clear Creek and Cypress-Fairbanks.

Friday’s game opened a big homestand through the end of the calendar year. Memorial will begin District 22-5A play Tuesday against Vidor and take a nine-day break before hosting the James Gamble Classic.

“It felt good coming back home, especially being everywhere else, Houston, other places,” Clover said.

Jamyus Jones had 12 points and Darion Chatman added nine points in the victory. Katon Brown and Christian Weatherly each scored nine to lead LCM.

“Memorial is the best team we’ve played so far this year,” Jeffcoat said. “They may be the best team we’ve seen all year. They’ve got 13 guys who can play. That’s why we’re here.”