Seahawks fall to Blinn College in regional tournament
JACKSONVILLE – If the third time’s a charm, Lamar State College Port Arthur should demand a refund on its rabbit’s foot.
The Seahawks’ luck ran out at the NJCAA Region 14 men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday afternoon as they fell to Blinn College 75-65 in the third meeting between the teams this season.
The loss dropped the Hawks to 17-13 overall as they ended their 2016-17 campaign at Jacksonville ISD’s John Alexander Gymnasium. The Buccaneers, who improved to 18-13, advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals round where they face the country’s No. 4 team, San Jacinto College.
“We had a great year but it’s tough, you don’t know what to tell them,” LSCPA head coach Lance Madison said. “It’s the last game of the year. Every day since the start of school, they’ve been together and now, all of a sudden, it’s over. They’re emotional right now, and they should be.
“We came together and we reached our potential as a team. That’s all you can ask for as a coach,” he said. “They represented the college really well. They should be proud of how they’ve performed.”
The Hawks owned Blinn in the regular season, beating the Buccaneers in Brenham 89-75 and at the Carl Parker Center in Port Arthur 76-63.
On Tuesday, the Bucs jumped out 4-0 to start the game but the Seahawks responded with a 10-0 run and it appeared the third rout of the season was underway.
Sophomore post Petar Radojicic was on fire early, working his turnaround magic in the paint to perfection, scoring six of the Hawks’ 35 first-half points and pulling down four rebounds. Freshman John Comeaux added eight points, taking full advantage of Blinn’s early foul trouble. Comeaux hit 4 of 4 from the line as the Seahawks knocked down 10 of 11 in the half.
Chol Luk and Akol Deng, both freshmen, hit for six points apiece with Luk dropping in a pair of 3-pointers to help LSCPA extend its lead to as many as 13 points in the waning moments of the first half. Madit Daniel popped a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to go until half but the celebration was short-lived as Blinn’s Markques Houston hit a trey at the buzzer to shorten the LSCPA lead to nine at 35-26.
The Buccaneers momentary offensive burst had all but dissipated by the time the teams took the court for the second half as LSCPA worked its lead back out to 12.
But like a switch, Blinn spent the next five minutes all but shutting out the Seahawks on the offensive end while finally figuring out its own offensive woes, outscoring LSCPA 13-2 to cut the Hawks’ lead to one at 42-41.
LSCPA held on to a slim lead but never got more than three points ahead of the Bucs until Lakendric Hyson dunked it home for Blinn’s first lead (52-51) since the 18:12 mark of the first half.
While the Seahawks dominated the first half, shooting 46 percent from the floor, LSCPA struggled after the break, only managing a 27-percent field goal percentage. The Hawks led the Bucs 19-14 in rebounding after the first half but Blinn crashed the boards hard in the second half, outpacing LSCPA 20-10.
“We quit guarding and we didn’t rebound like we did in the first half,” Madison said. “It was frustrating. We had the lead but Blinn kept charging ahead and we weren’t able to get defensive stops.”
Comeaux, who finished with a game-high 21 points, managed to score late, driving the lane and drawing fouls, but Radojicic picked up his fourth foul with five minutes left, hindering his ability to work in the paint down the stretch. Still, the Serbian scored 13 points in his final game as a Seahawk. Daniel finished the game with 10 points, while Comeaux and Travious Grubbs shared the rebounding lead with six boards apiece.
“They did a good job on Petar,” Madison said. “As a sophomore, he’s used to scoring points and today they double- and triple-teamed him. He got frustrated but he really played well.”
The regional tournament continues Thursday with the 1 p.m. tip between Blinn and San Jacinto. The championship game is set for 8 p.m. Saturday.
LAMAR STATE ATHLETICS
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