LSCPA basketball falls to Blinn at home

Lamar State College Port Arthur men’s basketball coach Lance Madison knows the NJCAA Region 14 schedule has no easy games.

Between long journeys and talented teams full of size and skill, the schedule can give any team its fair share of ups and downs.

“It’s one of the best junior college leagues in the country,” said Madison, who has been with the LSCPA since 2012. “There’s no built-in wins where you can just show up. You’ve got size , athleticism and very good coaches. It’s tough.”

Wednesday night’s LSPCA game summed up those ups and downs perfectly as the Seahawks narrowly fell short in a contest that could have gone either way. A chance for LSCPA to win its third straight game was forfeited as the Seahawks failed to shoot for final possession.

Kanntrell Burney crossed the lane and attempted a pass that didn’t find its target, resulting in a 72-71 loss for the Seahawks at Parker Center in Port Arthur. The loss dropped the LSPCA to 12-8 overall and 5-5 in conference.

“Kanntrell Burney has been with us for two years and is one of our top scorers,” Madison said. “We were hoping to get something towards the basket and maybe get fouled, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Although the Seahawks eventually settle, they didn’t have the best start Wednesday night. LSCPA struggled to find their shooting touch early, allowing Blinn to score 13 of the game’s first 15 points.

However, those early misses quickly began to fall as the Seahawks got back into the game. Guards Evan Palmquist and Kharee McDaniel provided the spark, each converting deep attempts from beyond the arc. That fueled a 17-1 LSCPA run late in the half that put the Seahawks on top.

LSCPA shot 7 of 17 from three-point range in the first half, while Blinn attempted just one shot from deep and missed. The different styles worked in LSCPA’s favor, helping the Seahawks take a 41-33 halftime lead.

“We’ve got shooters, so we’ll shoot a couple threes,” Madison said.

The second half took place at a slightly slower pace. Blinn began to close in on the Seahawks’ three-point shooters, forcing the LSCPA to use more drives to the rim.

Blinn used his height to deny most of those attempts, and the Buccaneers slowly edged closer. A jump shot from Braelon Seals gave Blinn their first second-half lead at 63-62 with just over six minutes left in the game.

The contest went back and forth from there, with each team in turn holding a slim lead. LSCPA had several chances to go ahead in the last minute of games but did not convert any of them.

With Blinn leading 72-71, Palmquist missed a potential dunk. Then, after the Seahawks got another save, Burney was fouled and headed to the free throw line for a 1 and 1, but missed the first attempt.

Blinn then missed his own free throw, allowing a final attempt for LSCPA. However, Burney’s drive through the lane was denied and the celebration began for Blinn.

After the hot-shot start from deep, LSCPA only went 2 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second half. Palmquist finished with 17 points to lead the Seahawks.

“We just went through a tough six games in 12 days, so I think our legs were a bit heavy and we ran out of gas in the second half,” Madison said.

Like many college basketball teams, the LSCPA has had to play shorthanded at times this season while dealing with coronavirus concerns. Silsbee graduate Devon McCain didn’t play Wednesday night, but fellow Silsbee native Landyn Tyler did, scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Blinn also showcased homegrown talent on Wednesday, with Dutch graduate Tyler Jackson playing as a rookie striker. He scored six points for the Buccaneers.

LSCPA will continue the tough Region 14 schedule on Saturday. The Seahawks hit the road for a game at Angelina College.

“We need to share the ball a little better and get back-to-back saves,” Madison said. “That’s how you win games.”

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