Ponies eliminate Seahawks

Published 12:10 am Saturday, March 5, 2016

LSCPA sports information
LUFKIN – Lamar State College Port Arthur’s dream season ended in a flurry of three-pointers on Friday night as Panola College rained down a 79-75 win in the semifinal round of the NJCAA Region XIV men’s basketball tournament at Angelina College.
The Seahawks, an unlikely power in the region with just eight players and six regular contributors, brokered their way into the regional tournament as the No. 2 seed, ahead of the No. 3 Ponies. After a win against Lee College on Thursday night, the third victory of the year against the Rebels, the Seahawks looked destined to take a shot at the title.
Panola had other plans though.
The Ponies hit eight three-pointers in the first half to push out to a six-point lead with13:31 left. Sophomore Freddie Williams Jr. stopped the bleeding with a slam dunk and the Seahawks chipped their way back to a tie game at 19-19 with 9:54 to go in the first half.
More three-pointers from Panola helped the Ponies regain their advantage, though, and Panola took its biggest lead of the game on a slam dunk at 38-29. By the end of the first half, Panola held a 43-36 lead and the momentum heading into the locker room.
A basket and a free throw to start the second half gave Panola a 10-point lead and it looked like the Ponies could be on a run to the championship game. Suddenly the Seahawks came alive, going on a 10-0 run on three-pointers by Mambi Diawara and Jordon Harris and a pair of baskets by Colton Weisbrod.
Weisbrod, who dominated the game with 19 first-half points, continued his bruising approach in the second half, finishing with 33 points in the game and nine rebounds.
Panola worked its lead back to nine points again with 12:55 to go in the game and again, the Seahawks went on a run, outscoring the Ponies 10-0 to take a 60-59 lead at the 10:55 mark of the half.
The two teams battled back and forth through the final 10 minutes with the Seahawks relinquishing their lead with a minute remaining when Panola hit a three to go up 76-73. The Hawks couldn’t get the ball to fall in the waning moments as their unlikely championship season slipped away.
Williams finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds, while Harris added 12 points and five assists with Diawara scoring 11 points with seven assists.
Panola finished 13 of 28 from the three-point line, shooting 50 percent from the field in the game, while LSCPA came alive in the second half, shooting 52 percent from the field, finishing 47.5 percent for the game.
Panola College advances to the tournament finals, where it will meet the country’s No. 1 team, Trinity Valley Community College. The Cardinals got past San Jacinto College on Friday afternoon to advance to tonight’s championship game.

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