Second half, second wind – Seahawks season heats up against Cardinals

Published 12:08 am Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Lamar State Seahawks are no strangers to the Trinity Valley Cardinals’ basketball prowess.

The Cardinals played in two of the tournaments also attended by Lamar State earlier this year, The East vs. West Challenge in Plano Texas Nov. 8-9 and the Pensacola Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 25-26, though the teams did not play each other.

The Seahawks know just how dangerous Trinity Valley can be as they travel to Athens, Texas, on Friday for their 7 p.m. conference game, the first of the new year.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This year they were picked second in the North division,” Lamar State head coach Lance Madison said. “They’ve been a perennial power. They’ve been to the national tournament several times. They’ve had All-Americans over there. They always have Division I transfers because they have such a strong program, traditionally, that a lot of four-year players that leave the four-year scene transfer to Trinity Valley and try to go back to Division I. So it’s a historical program.”

That program this year is 9-4, winning all six of its home games and going 3-0 against Region XIV opponents. They’re averaging 91.9 points per game.

“It’s a tough place to play,” Madison said. “Their gym is not a real big gym but it’s big enough that they can get real crowds in there. They’re a good team, they’re well coached and we’ll have to play well. I’ve always said this: Going on the road in our league, you’ve got to control the board and you have to hit your free throws, so that’ll be two areas we’ll have to play well in.”

There’s at least one dent in their armor, though: They lost to Pensacola at the tournament, while Lamar State won that matchup.

“We were the only team from Texas to beat Pensacola in that tournament,” Madison said. “We beat Pensacola and lost to Tallahassee and Northwest Florida. So we’ve played some similar opponents.”

The Seahawks started this season 6-8 but started to show signs of warming back up after a long break with a Monday victory over Louisiana Christian Prep. and Tuesday victory over CMP Prep., 129-68.

“I thought we played in spurts,” Madison said. “We went on some runs where we had good defense that generated some turnovers and created some scoring opportunities. We just have to play more consistent throughout the 40 minutes. Coming into the game, being off as we were, we were going to be a little sluggish, and there were times that we were, but there were times that we played good basketball as well.”

Two sophomore transfers led the team in scoring Monday. J’Son Brooks was the Seahawks’ top scorer with 18 points and Ferontay Banks had 13. Madison was pleased both showed what they could do.

“That’s two guys we haven’t had that production out of all year,” Madison said. “I knew they were capable of playing at that high level and they’re starting to get comfortable out there on the floor.

“It’s always an adjustment going to class and playing basketball their first time here at Lamar. And now that the semester is over, they were focused on basketball and not so much worried about the classroom since finals were over. Part of it too was that they felt comfortable with their teammates and comfortable in front of our fans.”

There’s still work to be done. Madison says discipline needs to improve so the Seahawks don’t continue to drop games toward the end.

“I think personally we very easily could have won four more games than what he had,” Madison said. “We have to play hard for 40 minutes and we have to have enough discipline to execute. It’s a process you can’t really rush, you’ve got to stay focused. Eventually they’re going to come around and hopefully they’ll stay in the right state of mind and do the little things that win games, making free throws, not turning the ball over and playing harder than your opponent.”