JUCO BASKETBALL: Seahawks finish furious surge past Rebels with Williams’ 3

Published 10:09 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lamar State sports information

BAYTOWN – Patience is a virtue but on Wednesday night, Alex Williams was through waiting his turn.

Williams, a sophomore guard, set his feet and drilled the biggest basket of his collegiate career as his three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left lifted Lamar State College Port Arthur past Lee College 72-71 in NJCAA Region XIV South Zone play.

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Williams started 22 games as a freshman a year ago but with the new season, he found himself as more a bench contributor. At Lee College on Wednesday, he proved himself as valuable a cog in the Seahawks machine as anyone with a blue and white jersey.

Having trailed the Rebels by as many as 17 points, the Seahawks fought back to a 68-68 tie with two minutes left in the game. They fell behind again by three but freshman Chris Thomas hit one of two free throws to draw the Hawks to within two at 71-69.

After a missed Lee field goal opportunity, the Seahawks went the distance of the court with sophomore Tevin Baker driving into the paint from the left side, drawing in the Lee defense. Baker dished to his open teammate and Williams dropped in the shot from beyond the arc for the final 72-71 advantage.

“Seriously, I thought Tevin was going to pull up and take that shot from the outside,” Williams said of the play. “He went in and drew my defender and that left me open for the shot. It’s a play we practice a lot so it just felt natural.”

Williams finished the game with eight points, two assists and two rebounds, while Baker’s game-winning assist was his fourth of the game.

“We got great play from Alex tonight and Tevin hit a big three-pointer late in the game,” Seahawks coach Lance Madison said. “Watching Alex, he wasn’t afraid to shoot the ball. He had his feet set and he was ready to take the shot.”

The Seahawks improved their overall record to 13-6 overall and 5-3 in Region 14 play. With the loss, Lee fell to 10-9 and 3-5.

Lee made a quick statement on their home court by jumping out to a double-digit lead well before the midway point of the first half. A nine-point run put the Rebels up 22-11, then another seven-point run gave them a 14-point lead at 30-16 with 7:48 left before the break.

Sophomore Nathan Bailey, who led the Seahawks with 24 points and 14 rebounds, did his best to keep LSCPA close but by the halftime break, Lee still held on to a 14-point advantage at 41-27.

“We got sped up by their press and we missed some early free throws,” said Madison. “We had some great opportunities but we were eager and we missed a few easy shots.”

The second half was a different story as the Hawks worked the Lee lead back to nine points with 14:22 left in the game, then down to three points, 50-47, at the midway point of the second half.

“We were fighting for every possession. The guys hung in there and they played well,” said Madison. “We played some good basketball in the second half. We knew it would be a tough game. We’ve been in this situation (close games) a few times this season and our guys trust each other and they trust the system.”

The Hawks took their first lead of the game on Baker’s three-pointer at the 6:00 mark, 61-60. From there, it was a horse race to the finish line.

Chris Thomas came off the bench to give the Seahawks nine points and five rebounds, while sophomore Devin Ellis added 10 points. Devaughn Thomas grabbed 11 rebounds with six points.

The Seahawks take a break Saturday but return to Region XIV South play on Wednesday, Jan. 23, when they host Blinn College at the Carl Parker Center. That game tips off at 7 p.m.

YMCA Basketball Clinic

The Seahawks will host a free basketball clinic during their Saturday break at the YMCA of Southeast Texas, located on Ninth Avenue in Port Arthur. Players from the team will lead kids from second to ninth grade an a clinic from noon to 2 p.m. The clinic is open to the public.

“We always have a great time with this clinic,” said Madison. “We’ve done this every year except for last year when Harvey kept us from doing it. If you have kids or grandkids who would like to participate, we encourage you to bring them out. Even if you don’t have kids, we would be happy to have you come out and see our basketball team and meet the players.”