PORT ARTHUR —
There’s not much that scares Ty Allen, except the idea of not being able to play basketball. That’s exactly what almost happened.
Allen, a freshman guard at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, grew up in the mean streets of Chicago. It was there that he battled for a reputation and a spot on the basketball court, whether it was the hardwood in high school or the concrete court in the streets.
“I was always the young guy playing with the older guys,” Allen said. “I wanted to prove I could be as good as anyone and I knew that I had to be out there fighting for that reputation.”
Through high school he solidified his rep with his name appearing in the Chicago Tribune for the state-ranked Rich South High School Stars. His senior season he averaged 11 points, 5.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2 steals per game and led his team to the Illinois Sweet 16. He was the complete player and the recruiters knew it.
Xavier University, a Division I NAIA school, came calling and Allen answered with the promise of an all-conference performance for the New Orleans school.
Fate had other plans.
Allen began having back spasms that left him, at times, crippled on the sidelines. An MRI confirmed a diagnosis – a bulging disc in his back.
“They performed an epidural and that helped but I had to lay out,” Allen said. “It was frustrating. I wanted to be out there and I couldn’t.”
He dutifully battled the physical part of his medical roadblock but it was the psychological aspect that at times had him considering his future without basketball.
“There were times when I got depressed, when it got so hard that I just didn’t know if I wanted to keep dreaming about my future in basketball,” he said. “But when that happened, I would get my head together and get back on track. I couldn’t let that stop me.”
Allen received a medical redshirt in order to preserve that season’s eligibility. He continued as a student, taking classes part-time. Through his slow recovery, often alone in a gym, Allen worked in pursuit of his goals.
“I kept working out, trying to stay strong,” he said. “I wasn’t going to give up.”
However, it was something more than just his dreams that spurred his recovery. His mother had lost her job and had difficulty finding work.
“I knew I had to get back on the court,” he said. “I knew that one day I had to make money doing this. It was up to me to take care of my mom.”
Once he was back in good health, Allen decided not to return to Xavier, an NAIA school. Instead, he set his sights on Division I NCAA. His first stop, though, would be in Port Arthur.
“Coach Madison called me and eventually he offered me a full ride to come here and play,” Allen said. “I was glad to have a scholarship and I knew this would be my first step to making it to the next level.”
His goals are undoubtedly big – Junior College All-American, No. 1 in scoring in the nation, a full ride to a major university after this season. His conviction is enough to convince anyone that it all can be done. His talent makes up for any nagging doubts.
Allen is currently ranked 20th in NJCAA Division I in the nation for scoring average with 20.9 points per game. His 146 total points in seven games is 36th best in the nation.
His high-flying, acrobatic style of slicing his way to the basket, playing with complete abandon this season shows Allen is still not scared of anything.
“I want to do big things while I’m here in Port Arthur,” Allen said. “But before you talk about All-American or top scorer or any of that stuff, you have to put ‘winner’ and that’s what we’re all working for here. We’re a team dedicated to the same goal … being champions.”
PORT ARTHUR —
- Price is set to become next Lamar head coach
- West column: Wade preparing to become an opera critic
Lady Cards sweep DH from Southeastern Louisiana
BEAUMONT — It may be just the second year of the program’s revival, but the Lamar softball team has already established a tradition: Winning the home opener on a walk-off home run.
Casey Cromwell’s three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Lady Cardinals a 6-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Ford Park in the first home game of 2014 for Lamar and the Southland Conference opener for both squads.
Lamar, which won its first game last year over UTSA on a walk-off home run by Ashley McDowell, cruised to an 8-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Saturday’s nightcap.
“This is why I love playing at home,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “The fans really get us pumped up, and we respond.”
Cromwell hit two home runs in the opener for Lamar (5-9 overall, 2-0 Southland). Beverly Corry also homered for Lamar. Shannon Millman (3-5) was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cardinals in both games, working 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in the first game before firing a three-hit gem in the nightcap.
“We got tremendous pitching for both Shannon and Tina (Schulz) today,” Bruder said. “We also got some great defense, and that really helped us.”
Candyce Carter and Jenna Holland homered for Lamar in the second game. Carter had three RBIs in the game, while Holland and Julianne Viator added two RBIs apiece.
Carter closed out the game in spectacular fashion, making a diving grab in center field to turn what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Brittney Tschoepe into the final out of the game.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a single contest at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. All senior citizens 55 and older receive free admission.
“It’s always tough to sweep a team,” Bruder said. “We know Sunday’s game will be tough.”
- LU nine scores walk-off victory against Harvard
- Prep baseball, softball roundup
- Ayers' 39 points held Lady Cards grab share of title
- SLU exposes Lamar's warts in 71-62 finale
- David Estrada column: Dallas UFC event keyed to welterweights
- Inika McPherson 12th in high jump at World Championships
- Heartbreaking loss ends Seahawks season
- More Sports Headlines