It doesn’t happen very often. In fact, it hasn’t happened in a long time.
“Not this year,” said Pioneer Coach Rich Marion when asked if he’s ever seen star point guard Drew Lowder so frustrated as he was during Friday’s first half against visiting Huron in a city-rival basketball showdown.
The good thing for Lowder and the Pioneers is there was a second half. And frustrating Lowder for an entire game? Well, that’s not going to happen.
Lowder scored 10 of his 14 points in the decisive fourth quarter to help the Pioneers rally for a 61-51 victory over the River Rats. Pioneer has two games left (Southfield Christian on Tuesday and Dexter on Thursday) before opening up Districts at Skyline against Skyline on March 5.
“He was getting frustrated,” Marion said of Lowder in the game with the River Rats. “Huron did a good job on him. They stayed in front of him, they switched their ball screens and we didn’t do a good job of attacking. Both Lewis Willis and Avery Lewis did a good job on Drew. We didn’t handle that ball switching very well.”
Lowder is an explosive basketball player. He can shoot it as soon as he walks over the half-court line. He can drive by the best defenders with ease. Play off him and he will knock down a triple. Get in his face and be ready to see the back of his jersey.
So what was Huron doing on a player who scored 28 points against talented Skyline the week before?
“I came out sleepwalking a little bit,” Lowder said. “My coach had faith in me. My teammates had faith in me. They kept my head up. I kept playing hard on defense and I knew the shots would eventually come. I had to keep doing the little things and I knew the big things would come when it mattered.”
The biggest thing came with a victory over a city rival. And Lowder said the difference between a win and a loss was on the defensive end.
“We really started locking up on defense in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Coach called a time out and told us that we had to get things together or they were going to run away with this thing on our home floor. And it had to start with defense. It really hit home with us, especially the seniors with this being their last game on our home court.”
Lowder’s season started out strong before an injury in Pioneer’s first game with Skyline forced him to miss five games.
“It was hard being on the sidelines and having to watch,” Lowder said. “I just tried to be a good teammate. I was always at practice, always encouraging them not only during the games but in practice as well. But I was really glad to get back on the court.”
Now that he is back to being fully healthy, Lowder and the Pioneers can turn their attention to the big picture.
“Our goal is to make a long tournament run,” he said following the win over Huron. “I know people don’t think we won’t make it out of Districts because of Skyline but we think otherwise. We are going to try and get past them and then keep on going for as far as we can.”
Lowder has one more year left at Pioneer before taking his game to the next level. He is clearly a D-1 player and already has offers from Northern Illinois, Toledo and Eastern Michigan.
“It’s still wide open,” he says of his college plans. “I’ve visited a few places. I want to go into sports advertising/marketing and find somewhere that fits my style of play.
“I have a big summer ahead of me as far as recruiting but I won’t start worrying about that until after the high school season is over.”