Seahawks young but local
Published 11:43 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Lamar State College Port Arthur hoops coach Lance Madison knows a lot of things worked really well for him and the Seahawks last season.
The Seahawks finished 22-10 and reached the NJCAA Region XIV semifinals. Panola College eliminated LSCPA with a 79-75 victory.
What went right for the Seahawks was the outstanding play of six sophomores, including Nederland graduate Colton Weisbrod and Dallas native Chrsitian Albright. Both of those guys are now playing at Lamar.
“Last year was definitely a special year for us,” Madison said. “Those guys were ambassadors both on and off the court and this year is a little different. We have a bunch of new faces so we are going to be inexperienced. We are working hard because we have to mature as a team and get mentally tougher before the season.
The Seahawks have only two players coming back with any experience.
Sophomore guard and West Orange-Stark graduate Chase Rutledge played in 24 games and averaged 3.6 points per game.
Petar Radojicic of Serbia was on the team last season but received a medical redshirt after a back injury.
There are several freshmen on the team with local ties, starting with Port Neches-Groves graduate Ryan Abel. The guard was named to the District 22-5A First Team last season.
“College is definitely a step up from high school,” Abel said. “The athletic ability and talent of college athletes are pretty impressive. We have been working hard the last couple of weeks to better ourselves and pretty for the real games coming up. We are going to have to work real hard to fill those shoes of the guys from last year.”
Guard John Comeaux was a pivotal player for Ozen in the Panthers’ trip to the Class 5A regional finals. Travious Grubbs was a major factor in Silsbee’s march to the Class 4A state title game.
Grubbs was named to the Class 4A Region III team and gained Defensive MVP honors of District 22-4A. His teammate, Ricky Maze Jr. is also on the Seahawks’ roster.
Central’s Cody Phillips, Hardin-Jefferson’s Dylan Mays and Kelly’s Cameron Frank round out the local talent at LSCPA.
“Those guys from last year set the bar pretty high here,” Madison said. “It has been challenging for my new guys to understand that right now we have a bull’s eye on our back. Everybody will be shooting for us, so we have to learn how to compete on every possession.”
The Seahawks open the preseason at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Carl Parker Center against Lone Star College-Cy Fair. LSCPA plays its first four games at home with matchups against Victoria College at 7 p.m. Nov. 9, Lone Star College-Kingwood at 4 p.m. Nov. 12 and Lone Star College-Tomball at 7 p.m. Nov. 16.
LSCPA has played a couple exhibition games this season, so Madison has seen his squad against live competition.
“Well just be like most young teams; if we get out to an early lead, we do pretty well,” Madison said. “If we get behind, we tend to put our head down. I always stress you have to get some defensive stops to get back in it. This team is learning how to play together.”
Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe