Coming into Friday night’s showdown with visiting Huron, the Pioneer boys’ basketball team had the offense rocking and rolling – including scoring 71 points against a strong Skyline defense last week and 84 points against Bedford on Monday. The River Rats can play defense as well as anyone in the area and for three quarters they frustrated, confused and basically shut down the high-flying Pioneers.
Huron looked good at both ends of the floor and took a 41-36 lead into the final quarter. Then, everything changed. Pioneer started hitting some shots, played tighter defense and changed the momentum – and once that happened it was all over.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO INCLUDING PIONEER’S COMEBACK: https://weloveannarbor.com/2018/02/24/video-follow-pioneers-comeback-vs-huron-in-the-final-minutes/
The Pioneers scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and held the River Rats to 10, rallying for a 61-51 victory in the final SEC regular-season game for both schools. Pioneer finished the game on a 12-0 run.
The two teams split the season series and could see each other again in the Districts – but we will get to that scenario next week.
Huron outscored Pioneer 14-12 in the first quarter and led 28-21 at halftime.
The Pioneers ended up with a very balanced scoring sheet.
Jacob Williams had perhaps his best game of the season. The senior must have been fired up with Senior Night and playing his last game at home because he was huge down the stretch (five points including a big triple), made 6 of 7 shots for the game and finished with 14 points. He also had three assists and three rebounds.
Drew Lowder, the Pioneer’s standout guard, had a rough first half but finished strong. The junior scored 10 of his 14 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
Junior Kasean Pryor scored eight of his 10 points in the second half and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. Junior Aidan Wright also was big in crunch time, making 3 of 4 shots and scoring eight of his nine points in the fourth quarter. Senior Jack Fitzgerald had eight points for the Pioneers.
Huron’s Lewis Willis was unstoppable in the first half. The senior was driving to the basket and knocking down tough shots in the lane and hitting jumpers from all over the floor. He had 16 points – including two triples – in the first half and finished with 19 points.
Huron senior Avery Lewis was solid all game for the River Rats. He finished with 14 points for the visitors. Senior LJ Dewolf had 10 points including a pair of triples.
Down five after three quarters, Pioneer began to chip away in the fourth quarter. Wright took the ball to the basket and delivered the equalizer for the home team with 2:30 left to tie the game at 49-49. But Lewis, at the other end, gave Huron a 51-49 lead when he scored and was fouled inside. He missed the free throw but did put the River Rats back on top.
That basket turned out to be Huron’s last points of the night.
Wright knocked down a long triple in front of the Pioneer bench to send the score to 52-51 and the huge Pioneer crowd into a frenzy with 2:08 left to play in the game. Williams then hit a triple to push the lead to 55-51.
Pryor scored with a put-back jumper along the baseline to make it 57-51. Lowder hit a floater in the lane for a 59-51 lead before finishing the scoring with two free throws.
A triple by Willis gave Huron an 8-5 lead in the first quarter. Lowder scored inside to cut it to 8-7 but Willis scored inside and Lewis scored on a put-back to make it 12-9. Pioneer’s Robert VanRenterghem hit a triple to finish the scoring in the first period and cut the home team’s deficit to 14-12.
Willis turned two nice drives to the basket into a 20-12 lead with 6:06 left in the second quarter. Dewolf knocked down a triple to give the River Rats a 25-14 lead. A three-pointer by Willis made it 28-15. Williams hit a jumper to make it 28-17 and the teams headed to halftime at 28-21.
Willis made one of the toughest and most impressive shots of the night in the third quarter when he hung in the air for what seemed like 10 minutes and hit the shot while getting fouled. The three-point play gave Huron a 33-23 lead. Lewis hit a jumper to make it 37-26. Pryor turned a rebound into a basket to cut the lead to 37-30. Huron led 41-36 after three quarters.