Landon Lowder’s triple attempt from the top of the key with the clock winding down wouldn’t fall and Pioneer fell to Romulus 67-64 in a close game from start to finish during Saturday’s Ann Arbor Basketball Classic at Skyline.
Lowder, the flashy junior guard with the sweet shot, led the Pioneers with 30 points. Junior Kasean Pryor also played well and finished with 14 points. Senior Cortez Thomas had seven points.
Pioneer, which opened the season with a blowout win over Wyandotte Roosevelt, falls to 1-1 on the season.
The Pioneers kept fighting until the end against a talented Romulus team. With 34 seconds left in the game and the Eagles leading 65-64, Romulus’ Simon Obi missed two free throws but the Pioneers couldn’t get the rebound and were forced to foul. Romulus’ Randy Frison made both free throws to make it 67-64 with 14 seconds left.
Lowder brought the ball up court and fired his shot from the top of the key but the ball hit only rim and the buzzer sounded to end the exciting game.
A triple by Pryor from the corner and a layup by Thomas cut the deficit to 59-57 but the Eagles kept on coming and took a 63-57 lead with 5:53 left in the game.
A layup by Lowder cut it to 63-61.
With Romulus leading 65-61, a charge by John Fitzgerald got the Pioneers the ball back but they couldn’t score at the other end. But with 1:15 left in the game, Lowder was knocked to the floor but not before he lofted up a bank shot for two points. The three-point play cut the Eagles’ lead to 65-64.
The Pioneers came out strong early in the third quarter. A triple by Jacob Williams gave Pioneer a 40-35 lead with 6:10 left. But Romulus came rolling back and took the lead until a jumper by Pryor tied the game at 42-42 and then a steal and layup by Lowder gave Pioneer a 44-42 lead.
A three-point play by Lowder tied the game again at 47-47 with 3:10 left in the third. A great drive and dish by Robert VanRenterghem to Thomas gave the Pioneers a 50-49 lead with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
But the Eagles finished strong in the final minutes to take a 57-52 lead after three quarters.
The Pioneers led 15-14 after one quarter. Pryor finished the quarter strong, converting a layup after a steal and then dishing off a great pass to Lowder on the break for a layup in the final minute of the opening period.
A great drive and dish by Lowder to Pryor tied the game at 31-31 and then a jumper by Lowder gave the Pioneers a 33-31 lead with 1 minute left in the first half.
Lowder then drove past the entire Romulus team – showing some sweet moves between the top of the key and the basket – to give the Pioneers a 35-33 lead at halftime.