LSCPA Seahawks start 2018 with consecutive wins

Rodney Brown dunking a basketball

The New Year’s Eve celebration got an early start for Lamar State College Port Arthur on Dec. 31 as the Seahawk basketball team went off like a Roman candle, scoring the first 15 points of its year-ending, tournament-closing game, winning 91-57 over North America University in the LSCPA New Year’s Day Classic.

The win improved LSCPA’s record to 6-7 for the season as the Seahawks get set to open the 2018 half of their schedule on Friday, Jan. 5, when they host NJCAA Region XIV rival Panola College at the Parker Center in Port Arthur at 6 p.m.

“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,’” said sophomore Tra Grubbs, who played high school ball at Silsbee. “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.

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, losing by four points each time: 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 tournament Dec. 20 with a 105-93 win over Lone Star College Cy-Fair. The game saw six LSCPA players score in double figures.

Brown, a sophomore from Beaumont, scored 25 points and snared a dozen rebounds in the win over Lone Star College Cy-Fair.

Brown was one of six double-digit scorers for the Seahawks, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Cy-Fair’s Falcons fell to 14-9.

Matej Gaspert scored a season-high 17 points for LSCPA while Ethan White and Jase Miguez of Nederland scored 12 each, Grubbs added 11 and Stefan Radosavljevic chipped in 10.

“It’s real good to get a win,” said the 6-foot-7 Brown, a graduate of Beaumont West Brook. “At halftime, coach told us we had to tighten up on defense, and we did that.

“We came together as a team and we got it done.”

The Seahawks and Falcons were tied, 33-33, with six minutes left in the first half, but Brown’s block of a layup by Cy-Fair’s Tyler Giron led to a 3-ball by the Seahawks’ Nathan Payne and LSCPA outscored its opponent 20-10 to take a 10-point, 53-43, lead in at half.

Coach Lance Madison’s team never trailed in the second half. The Falcons whittled the Seahawks lead to five points, 95-90, with 2:15 left, but could get no closer.

Christian Alackwe led the Falcons with 17 points while teammates Tyler Giron and Donald Williams scored 16 points each.

“They [the Falcons] played a good ball game and I was glad to see our kids dig in and get some consecutive stops,” Madison said. “We made some plays late and hit our free throws. It was a good win for us, it really was.”

Grubbs scored nine of the Seahawks’ first 18 points in the game’s first five minutes – including a pair of 3-pointers – but foul trouble limited him to just two more points before half and he did not score after intermission.

The two teams combined to shoot 71 free throws as the officials whistled 56 personal fouls.