It was Primetime Thursday at the Alamo Dome where the matchups were prospect heavy for texasboysbasketball.com. Port Arthur Memorial made their first trip to the State Semifinals in school history and Midlothian, who is led by TCU signee Kaden Archie also punched their ticket to the state tournament. Justin Northwest had unfinished business due to last year’s semifinal exit but Alamo Heights have their own aspirations of a state championship. The game and prospect analysis tells the story.
Port Arthur vs. Midlothian
1st: 15 to 12 Port Arthur game statically balanced with exception of one more made three ball. Archie tied the game with a deep 3-ptr at the half way mark of the second quarter.
2nd: The duo of Jamyus Jones from the three point line and Jordan Valsin with paint touches at will while 4-4 from the line. Wesley provides the go ahead 3 pointer to give Port Arthur the 24-21 at the half.
3rd: The second half resumed where the first half started as each bucket was hard earned. Sr. Caleb Jordan and Evan Marshall for Midlothian produced 9 points in the third quarter as Archie was in pursuit to find his way to the paint which resulted in something positive for his team. Sr. Thailan Wesley answered to Midlothian’s early run with 7 points in the last 4 minutes of the third quarter. Memorial up 37-33 after three
4th: The contest got chippy as the intensity of this bout saw an increase in intensity. A rare double foul was issued as the players started jawing back and forth at each other in the beginning of the last period. No point was scored in the fourth quarter until the 6 minute mark as Wesley nailed a contested three pointer to make it 40-33 for the Titans. Midlothian scored it’s first point in the fourth with 3:33 left but Memorial steadily increased their lead and got up by as much as 16 points until the Panthers first bucket. Memorial withstood Midlothian’s late surge and won 61-49 to advance to the title game.
Kaden Archie, Sr. Wing- Midlothian: didn’t have a efficient scoring outing (4-13 from the field) and forced the issue at times (7 turnovers), Kaden continued to apply pressure to the Titans defense and got to the line 12 times. Along with 18 points, Archie secured 7 rebounds and blocked 5 shots.
Evan Marshall, Sr. PF – Midlothian: The Air Force signee came out of the gate with an aggressive approach as he played the role as the rim protector on defense. Evan has shown progressive strides throughout the regular season and this semifinal game showed the steady growth in his game. Marshall stat line was 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Thailan Wesley, Sr. SG – Port Arthur Memorial: for Memorial added 24 points as he went 4-8 from three. Wesley grabbed 7 rebounds as the Sr. sharpshooter showcased his quick trigger and went on a 10-0 scoring by himself in the second half.
Nathan Clover, Soph C – Port Arthur Memorial: Clover was very solid in the Titans outing vs Midlothian. He made life difficult for opposing guards to get a clean look in the paint (3 Blocks) and although shots in the paint didn’t go in as much as he would of liked, Clover showed comfort operating on the block and generating his own look.
1st: Jr. Avery Anderson of Justin Northwest began the second tilt on Thursday night with a pull up jumper for the first points of the game. Sr. Brandon Johnson scored 8 of the first ten points for Alamo Heights as he displayed his smooth shooting stroke from beyond the arc. The Texans utilized their size advantage as UTA signee Mason Hix, Oklahoma Football signee Darrell Simpson and 2019 big man Sam Freeman combined for 7 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter. Northwest up 15-12 after one.
2nd: The Mules obtained their first lead in this contest as they put together a quick 5-0 run in the first minute of the second quarter to go up 17-15. Soph. Charlie Dewitt knocked down a corner three and brought a great dose of energy for Alamo Heights. Jr. Sam Freeman gathered 7 rebounds in the second quarter as he secured 13 boards after two periods and Soph Julien Smith strung together a strong quarter with 5 points and 2 assists in a three minutes time frame.
3rd: Sr. Evan Carcanagues for Alamo Heights contributed the first points in the third quarter as he finished through contact on a layup for the and one opportunity. Northwest applied pressure on the defensive side of the ball as Sam Freeman was the anchor on that side of the floor for the Texans. Alamo City came alive in the third quarter with a 6-2 run but the major rebounding differential in Northwest’s favor allowed them to maintain a double digit lead after 3. 49-36 Northwest
4th: Northwest expanded the lead to 17 points as Julien Smith and Avery Anderson orchestrated the first 6 points for the Texans. Brandon Johnson and The Mules continued to fight to stay in the game as they shrunk the lead within 7 points until Avery Anderson answered with the execution of an and one layup and a block on a jumper in the next sequence. Northwest winning the rebounding battle(37-26) and four players in double figures compensated to the shooting woes the Texans faced early which allowed them to hold on and beat Alamo Heights 65-54.
Head Coach for The Texans Mike Hatch talked to TBB about the finale against Port Arthur on Saturday.
“Our players were anxious today but I’m confident on Saturday we will play calmer and closer to our normal nature of play. The atmosphere and the first game here since last year brought a lot of nerves but we will be better on Saturday.”
Avery Anderson, Jr. PG – Justin Northwest: Anderson produced 16 points and added 3 assists and steals in the process. Anderson shot a very solid 47% from the field and his impact on both ends of the floor was critical in the Texan’s win on Thursday.
Sam Freeman, Jr. C – Justin Northwest: Freeman was a monster in the interior on Thursday night as he compiled a double double with 13 pts, 17 rebounds and multiple blocks. Freeman scored on the block, cleaned up on the glass and when he is playing with this energy, it is hard to bet against Northwest on Saturday.
Brandon Johnson, Sr. SG – Alamo Heights: Johnson shot 50% from the field on his way to a 20 point game. Brandon shot 5-8 from beyond the arc and was the leader in the fourth quarter surge for The Mules. Johnson refused to let the game get out of hand as he hit must needed jumpers to keep his team alive.
Edited By: AB