Lamar State-Port Arthur's Bennett shoots Seahawks past Paris 76-70
PORT ARTHUR – Lamar State College-Port Arthur sophomore Tre Bennett scored 24 second-half points, including 14 straight in a late-game run, to lead the Seahawks to a 76-70 come-from-behind win over Paris Junior College at the Carl Parker Center on Wednesday.
Bennett, who is among the top scorers in NJCAA Region XIV, managed just one bucket in the first half as the Seahawks (10-2, 3-1) struggled from the field. But true to form, Bennett – who has already signed to play for Indiana State next season – came alive to light up the scoreboard and lead the Hawks to victory.
"How about Tre Bennett?" LSC-PA Head Coach Lance Madison asked rhetorically. "I'm really proud of Tre tonight. He played the kind of game you would expect from an experienced sophomore. He kept his composure and led this team."
In fact, Bennett went on a rampage with the Hawks trailing by 10 points, 67-57, with 4:30 left in the game. A 3-pointer by Bennett cut the lead to 67-60, and after missed free throws by Paris, Bennett went back down the floor for another trey with a hand in his face to narrow the Dragons' lead to 68-63.
A missed 3-pointer down the floor by Paris sent Bennett back down the floor where he was fouled on another 3-point attempt. Three good baskets from the charity stripe cut the Paris advantage to 68-66 with 3:08 left in the game.
The Dragons finally responded with a layup by Nomhoum Bocoum but Bennett went back down the floor, split the Paris defense like it didn't exist, for an easy layup and a 70-68 difference with 2:28 left.
Joe Haynes missed a jump shot for Paris and sophomore Jamal Shabazz pulled down a huge rebound, feeding it to Bennett who went back down the floor for yet another 3-pointer and the 71-70 lead. The Seahawks would never trail again.
"I told our guys that they've got to fight, they've got to bite, they have to value every possession," Madison said. "It's good for this team to have a comeback win like that. We're leaving here tonight with our confidence on a high."
The Hawks opened the contest cold, shooting just 37.5 percent in the first half as they fell behind by as many as 14 points. From the first tip, the Hawks never held a lead.
"We started off really flat and we gave up too many easy buckets, too many offensive put-backs," Madison said. "It's been a long two weeks for us but we battled and we kept our composure. We dug ourselves into a hole and we had to work ourselves out, and we did."
Bennett was the leading scorer in the game with 26, adding four assists, two steals and three rebounds. Freshman JoJo Mooring scored 22 points with five boards while sophomore Anthony Allen added 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double performance, collecting six blocked shots along the way.
The Seahawks, as well as the rest of Region XIV, will take the Christmas break as players travel home to see their families. They'll hit the floor again for the Dec. 30-31 Seahawks New Year's Classic at the Carl Parker Center. The Hawks return to conference play with a Saturday, Jan. 4 game at Bossier Parish Community College.