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Local teams leading in Gamble tournament

December 28, 2016

The opening day of the 23rd annual James Gamble Classic saw four Southeast Texas basketball teams win by commanding margins.

Port Arthur Memorial’s 95-70 win over Houston Wheatley on Tuesday evening finished a sweep for area teams that also saw West Brook, Kelly and Central take home first round victories in the 10-team tournament. The four teams won by an average of 23 points.

“Basketball has always been good in this area,” said Gamble, 81, who led Port Arthur Lincoln to four state titles as a coach from 1962-1988. “There are always going to be some good teams from this area, but I think we’ll see better basketball this week.”

Memorial (9-4) can return to Thursday’s tournament final for the fourth-straight year with a win against West Brook at 7 tonight.

“Locally, we always say as far as pre-district games go, you don’t have to go anywhere to get good basketball games,” Memorial head coach Kenneth Coleman said. “There is a lot of good basketball in Southeast Texas. I’m not surprised how today played out.”

Wheatley trailed by only seven points midway through the second quarter before Dorian Chatman and the Titans caught fire.

Chatman’s five-straight points sparked a 15-2 run to end the half, pushing the lead to 51-31 behind 3-point shots from Chatman, Jaric Butler and Jaden Conner.

“I think the key for us was doing the things we do and stay consistent with that,” Coleman said. “We got a little outside of ourselves at first, but once we found our game we were able to wear them down.”

Chatman finished with 13 points, adding five more in the Titans’ 30-point third quarter. Memorial extended its lead to 30 in the third behind eight points from freshman center Nathan Clover, who finished with a team-high 15 points off the bench.

Eight players scored at least five points or more for Memorial in the win, setting up the second matchup between the Titans and West Brook this season. Memorial won the first.

“It’s two contrasting styles,” Coleman said. “He (West Brook coach Andre Boutte) likes to control the tempo. We do as well, but by running the court. It’s going to be interesting game and our kids are going to have to be extremely patient against the offense West Brook likes to run.”

West Brook 75, El Campo 46

The Bruins enjoyed an easy first-round win Tuesday with a 29-point rout of El Campo.

Senior guard Curley Amacker led West Brook with a game-high 20 points while sophomore Clayton Carpenter added 10 in the win.

West Brook (5-6) held a four-point lead after the first quarter, kept El Campo to just five points in the second quarter and went into halftime leading 36-18. Carpenter scored nine of the Bruins’ 19 second quarter points.

The win set up a 7 p.m. second round game against Memorial, who defeated Houston Wheatley 95-70 in Tuesday’s late game.

Kelly 81, Houston Madison 63

Behind 22 points from senior guard Cannon Broussard, the Bulldogs took a sizeable lead in the first quarter against Madison and maintained their distance throughout as they advanced to a second round game against Central today at 10:30 a.m.

All five of Kelly’s starters finished with double digits in scoring, including Dareiyus Richard (19), Tevin Baker (15), Parrish Pierre (13) and John Kraemer (12).

“They (Central), I got to watch them, they are very good,” Kelly coach James Knowles said. “They’ll be a real challenge. We match up well. As long as we don’t make foolish mistakes, which you can’t against that team, we’ll be alright.”

Madison, a regional semifinal team from last year, was led by Jeremiah Gambrell’s 21 points.

Kelly - who improved to 15-4 overall and are ranked No. 7 in the most recent TABC poll - took a 28-12 lead in the first quarter but saw the advantage cut to 44-33 at the half. The Bulldogs opened the third quarter on a 14-5 run to extend the lead to 58-38 and led by 23 at the end of the quarter.

Madison’s Malik Lewis hit four 3-point shots in the fourth quarter, but the Marlins never threatened Kelly’s lead.

Central 78, Houston Kashmere 56

The Jaguars outscored Kashmere 22-7 in the third quarter to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 51-34 advantage. Central (9-5) then coasted to a 22-point win in the first round of the James Gamble Classic.

Junior forward Jaylan Williams scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter while junior Jakobe Dill - who finished with 15 points - knocked down his fifth 3-point shot of the game. Daeleon Rashton led Kashmere with 16 points, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter.

Junior Byron Arceneaux added 11 points in the win, setting up today’s second round matchup against Kelly, who defeated James Madison 81-63. Kashmere will face James Madison in the loser’s bracket today at 9 a.m.

“They are not the Kelly of recent memory, they can beat anybody in this tournament,” Central coach Franklin Paul said. “We will give them the same respect as any other team.”

The winner of Central-Kelly will meet LC Marion in the tournament semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Marion defeated RCHA 75-54 on Tuesday and did not have to play a second round game due to the size of the 10-team tournament.

DThompson@BeaumontEnterprise.comTwitter.com/DaveTh89