There was too much Drew Lowder, too much Kasean Pryor and, more than anything, too much experience as the Pioneer boys’ basketball team held home-court advantage before a packed house on Friday night with a solid 71-51 victory over a very good, albeit young, Huron team.
Across the hall inside Schreiber Auditorium, the stage was filled with future stars performing in the annual FutureStars 2019 event. The stars also came out to play in the gym as well.
Lowder, the talented senior headed to D-1 Holy Cross next year, scored 12 of his total 24 points in a decisive third quarter. He also dished out six assists.
Pryor, a senior center, was all over the floor at both ends against the River Rats and finished with a game-high 28 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks including a sweet one late in the game. Pryor made 9 of 19 shots from the floor including 4 of 7 on three-pointers.
Chris Holmes came off the bench and scored eight points on 4 of 5 shooting and senior Aidan Wright scored seven for the Pioneers (10-2 overall).
Junior Mike Robinson had 14 points and sophomore Julian Lewis scored 13 for Huron.
With 3:02 left in the game, Lowder drove down the lane, scooped and scored and was fouled. His three-point play made it 62-47 and all but sealed Pioneer’s win over its SEC rival.
Pryor, off a pass by Lowder, gave Pioneer a 53-40 lead early in the final quarter. Lowder then scored to push the lead to 55-41 with 5:40 left. A put-back by Lewis cut the deficit to 55-45 with 4:12 left but the Pioneers had too much offense left in the tank and ran the River Rats out of the gym in the final minutes.
But it was Lowder’s third quarter that separated the experience from the youth. He scored three consecutive baskets and then added two free throws while the Pioneer defense pitched a shutout in the first few minutes of the quarter. The run turned a 26-24 halftime lead into a 34-24 advantage for the home team.
After Kingsley Perkins scored for Huron, Wright knocked down a triple from the corner to make it 37-29. Lowder drove down the lane and scored to make it 39-29. Pryor hit a three-pointer but Aayush Unudkot answered at the other end with a three-pointer for the River Rats. Pryor answered right back at the other end with another triple to give Pioneer a 47-37 lead.
Holmes scored inside in the final seconds to give the hosts a 51-39 lead after three quarters.
The River Rats started strong and took a 5-4 lead on a three pointer by Robinson. Pryor’s first triple of the night tied the game at 7-7. A Lewis put-back gave Huron a 12-10 lead but Lowder tied it at 12-12 with 2:50 left in the opening quarter. Lowder scored four more points to send the Pioneers into the second quarter with an 18-14 lead.
Pryor hit a triple and knocked down a pair of free throws to give Pioneer a 25-14 lead. Robinson turned a nice drive to the hoop into two points to cut the deficit to 24-20. Holmes scored inside to push the lead to 26-20.
Pioneer led 26-24 at halftime.