SPORTS HEADLINES

Northwest to face Port Arthur in 5A championship Saturday

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, March 9, 2018.
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It’s come down to this.

After 39 games, Northwest is just one victory away from its first state championship in school history. Standing in their way is 33-5 Port Arthur Memorial, who beat Midlothian Thursday to earn a spot in the state final.

The two schools will square off at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome for the right to be crowned the 5A state champion.

Photo by Stephen Spillman.

The Texans are expecting an up-tempo game from the Titans Saturday afternoon, as Port Arthur is known for its intense full-court pressure. The Titans used it to overwhelm Midlothian in the semifinal.

“They’re going to press the whole game,” Northwest coach Mike Hatch said after the Texans’ victory over Alamo Heights.”It’s going to be a complete 180 from this game. Totally different. We’re fine with that. We don’t mind playing that way. We look forward to the challenge.”

Port Arthur is averaging 69.4 points per game this season. Defensively, they only surrender an average of 49.9 per game — giving them an average margin of victory of almost 20 points.

Photo by Stephen Spillman.

The Texans, meanwhile, average 70.7 points per game. Northwest has used a balanced offensive attack throughout its playoff run, highlighted by Thursday night’s performance in the semifinals. Four of the Texans’ five starters ended in double figures.

Both teams enter this championship bout on lengthy winning streaks and went undefeated in district play. Northwest has won 18 straight dating back to December 30 while the Titans have won 25 in a row dating back to December 8.

“They’re much more physical and more athletic [than Alamo Heights],” Hatch said. “A little bigger, obviously. We’ve played teams like that this year, and we’ve always fared well. Come Saturday we’ll be excited and ready to go.”

It is the first time the Texans have ever played in a state final game. Last season, Northwest lost to Fort Bend Marshall 82-59 in the state semifinal. Both Hatch and starting point guard Avery Anderson have said last year, the Texans were just happy to be at the state tournament.

On Saturday, the mission is different.

“Win. That’s it,” Anderson said. “Play for each other and use last year as motivation again to get the [win].”

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