JUCO BASKETBALL: Seahawks not slowing down after long break

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019

When Lamar State College Port Arthur took off for a 25-day holiday break last month, the Seahawks were mired in a two-game skid with losses to Bossier Parish Community College and Panola College.

Now on a five-game winning streak, the Seahawks (12-5, 4-2 in Region XIV) are approaching their fourth game in nine days and sixth in 14 with Navarro College (15-1, 5-0) coming Saturday. Both teams lead their respective zones in the region; Lamar State is two games ahead of Angelina College (8-9, 2-4), and Navarro is one game better than No. 16-ranked Trinity Valley Community College, whose only region loss came last Friday in Port Arthur.

“You can only control your daily effort and your attitude,” seventh-year Seahawks coach Lance Madison said. “Last year’s bunch controlled their effort and their attitude, just like this year’s bunch is doing. The ball has bounced our way a few times, and we’re in a position where we’ve won some games.”

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Lamar State is pursuing its first zone championship since the 2015-16 season.

The Seahawks scored their most convincing victory in Region XIV play Wednesday night in beating Paris Junior College 71-60 behind sophomore Nathan Bailey’s 25 points. Bailey had hit game-winning shots in the final 5 seconds in each of the previous two games, against Trinity Valley and at Kilgore College on Monday.

“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Madison said. “He’s in a zone. He’s shooting the ball well right now. He’s a third-year guy, so he’s got a little bit of experience. The guys are doing a good job of getting him the ball in the right positions. … He’s been a good leader for us.”

Bailey redshirted last season after beginning his career at LSU-Alexandria.

Navarro, which has won 13 straight, received votes in the latest NJCAA Division I top-25 poll and will be a little more rested than Lamar State. The Corsicana-based Bulldogs last played Monday night at home beating Jacksonville College 90-82 and have three of the top 12 scorers in Region XIV in forwards Gavin Kensmil (16.6 points per game), James Jean-Marie (16.0) and Shakem Johnson (15.9).

But so far, the Seahawks have lost only one game at home, back on Dec. 1 to Bossier Parish 96-91.

“We’ve just got to work hard, continue to play our game,” Bailey said. “If we play as a team, we feel like we can beat anyone.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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