The New Year’s Eve celebration got an early start for Lamar State College Port Arthur Sunday afternoon.
The Seahawks basketball team went off like a Roman candle, scoring the first 15 points of its year-ending, tournament-closing 91-57 win over North America University in the LSCPA New Year’s Day Classic.
The win left LSCPA with a record of 6-7 for the season as the Seahawks get set to open the 2018 half of their schedule at 6 p.m. Friday when they host NJCAA Region 14 rival Panola College at the Parker Center.
“Last game we didn’t play very good defense in the first half, so before this one, we just told each other: ‘Don’t let them score the first three to five minutes,’” recalled Silsbee sophomore Travious Grubbs.
“That was kind of our plan. And we just stuck with it. And everybody bought into it.”
The Stallions of North American, a private university in Houston, missed their first six shots from the field and the Seahawks forced four turnovers in those first five minutes. Grubbs and Beaumont sophomore Rodney Brown made one theft apiece in that run.
Brown scored four of the first 15 Seahawks points – one on a thunderous two-hand jam off Tevin Baker’s feed – and Grubbs five.
Because of a 21-point, 53-32, halftime lead, Seahawks coach Lance Madison did not play his starters much, if at all, in the second half.
Grubbs had 10 first-half points and finished with 10. Stefan Radosavljevic, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Serbia, scored all 13 of his points in the first half. Brown scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the first half. Miguez, the Seahawks’ fourth double-digit scorer, had nine of his 10 points before intermission.
Grubbs picked off a team-leading 10 rebounds to lead LSCPA to a 46-24 edge on the boards. Baker dealt a team-high five assists.
The Seahawks are 0-3 in Region 14, having lost five games in a row during the fall term. Their last two games were particularly tough defeats, by four points each, 74-70 to Trinity Valley College and 69-65 to Navarro College.
“We’re just trying to do what we can to turn this around, get over that downhill moment,” Grubbs said. “Because we always lose over one or two possessions, we’re really trying to focus up on getting ready for the next conference game.”
The Seahawks opened their fourth-straight 2-0 cruise through their annual holiday tourney with a 105-93 win over Lone Star College Cy-Fair Saturday that saw six LSCPA players score in double figurres. North American lost a tough one 81-76 to Victoria College Saturday.
In Sunday’s first game, Cy-Fair downed Victoria College 87-79.
“I think we played a good basketball game,” Madison said after Sunday’s game. “I was happy everybody got in and played pretty good minutes. It was good to get two wins in a row.
“We can start getting our confidence back, and, hopefully, we continue with some good momentum going into practice this week and get ready for a very good Panola team on Friday.”
North American’s first points against the Seahawks came on a pair of free throws at the 14:51 mark of the first half by Joshua Galloway, who led the Stallions with 20 points.
Grubbs and North American’s Trey Marsh exchanged 3-pointers and Radosavljevic scored on a putback of a Kolbe Littlefield miss as LSCPA kept its 15-point lead at 20-5 six and a half minutes in.
An 7-0 run that featured five points by Brown stretched the Seahawks lead to 20 at 27-7 with 10:56 to play in the first half. The lead reached 25 points with 5:34 left in the half when Littlefield took advantage of a Radosavljevic steal to drive and make it 48-23.
A pair of free throws by Ethan White with 9:42 left in the game gave LSCPA a 30-point lead at 71-41 and the Seahawks were able to keep that margin the rest of the way, peaking with a 37-point margin late in the game.