It was a game that just never seemed to get off the ground or find the momentum many expected when Pioneer and Skyline hit the hardwood on Friday night in an SEC showdown. There were a lot of stops and starts, fouls, even injuries that turned the track meet into more of a stroll along the banks of the Huron River.
But there was still plenty of action, highlights and even a couple monster dunks as Pioneer took the lead late in the third quarter and pulled away from the visiting Eagles with a 65-55 win before a loud and packed Pioneer gym.
Senior Kasean Pryor led the Pioneers with 18 points. Senior Drew Lowder overcame a few injuries and scored 13 while senior Aidan Wright also overcame an injury to score 11. Junior Chris Holmes had six points.
Senior Ryan Wade had a big second half and finished with 23 points to lead Skyline. Senior DeSean Munson scored 15 and sophomore Chris Cayton added 11 for the Eagles.
Wade knocked down a triple to give Skyline a 28-24 lead early in the third quarter but a steal and basket by Pioneer’s Alex Cunningham tied the game at 28-28 with 5:55 left in the third.
A three-pointer by Pryor cut Skyline’s lead to 36-35 and then another basket by the senior gave the hosts a 37-36 lead. Lowder knocked down a triple to push the lead to 40-38 and then hit a tough shot inside to make it 42-38.
WATCH: CTN Sports, Skyline @ Pioneer Men’s Basketball, Monday, Jan. 14 at 10 p.m., Channel 19
In the final minute of the third quarter, Pioneer’s Koebe Moore drove to the basket, spun around a defender and dished of a beautiful pass to Holmes who converted the layup into a 44-39 lead after three for the host Pioneers.
Holmes started the scoring in the fourth quarter with a layup to give the hosts a 46-39.
Pryor’s put-back with 5 minutes left in the game gave Pioneer a 51-43 lead. Wade turned a steal into a layup to cut the deficit to 54-46 with 3:20 left to play. But Pryor knocked down two free throws to push the lead back to double digits at 56-46 with 2 minutes on the clock.
A monster dunk by Pryor raised the roof and raised the already high expectations of this crosstown rivalry. The senior’s slam gave the hosts an early 6-4 lead.
Back-to-back tip ins by Wright pushed the lead to 10-7. But Wade knocked down a triple to tie the game at 10-10.
Pioneer led 12-10 after one quarter.
The teams continued to battle back and forth in the second quarter. Munson’s tip gave the Eagles a 16-12 lead but Pioneer evened things up at 17-17 on a triple by Pryor from the top of the key.
Two free throws by Wright gave Pioneer a 21-19 lead with 3:13 left in the first half.
Munson scored inside to give Skyline a 23-21 lead and then raised the “other” roof with a monster slam dunk to make it 25-21.
Skyline led 25-24 at halftime.