Drew Lowder made his point on Friday night – in more ways than one.
The Pioneer senior guard needed eight points to pass the 1,000 mark for his remarkable career and took care of that in the first half. It was the points Lowder scored in the second half of the Pioneers’ showdown with host Huron that were the most amazing and most important.
Amazing came with about 3 minutes left in the game when he used a spin move along the baseline and his explosive first step to blow past two defenders and put the Pioneers ahead 63-57.
Important came every time Huron made a big shot – and the River Rats made plenty of big shots. With every big shot came an answer and most of the time delivering the answer was Lowder.
The dynamic point guard, who is headed to Holy Cross next year, finished with a game-high 35 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to lead Pioneer to a 71-65 win over the River Rats before an enthusiastic and huge crowd.
Kasean Pryor also had a huge game for the Pioneers. The senior center had 24 points, including a couple monster dunks, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
For those doing the math, Lowder and Pryor combined for 59 of Pioneer’s 71 points.
Chris Holmes came off the bench and contributed seven points for the Pioneers.
Devin Womack, Huron’s explosive sophomore guard, had a huge game for the River Rats. He scored a team-high 23 points including some big baskets to keep Huron within range. Junior Mike Davis also made some big plays and finished with 17 points.
Sophomores Tyson Edmondson and Julian Lewis each scored nine points for the River Rats.
After Pryor and Womack exchanged triples, Lowder scored to give Pioneer a 55-50 lead. Mike Davis scored inside and Pryor answered at the other end for a 57-52 lead with 5:03 left in the game.
Womack then went inside and hit a tough shot and Lewis knocked down a shot and the River Rats pulled within two at 59-57 with 3:20 left. With seven sophomores on the roster, Huron was hanging around and playing with great poise and confidence despite their youth.
But the Pioneers have Lowder and the senior scored to push the lead to 61-57. After his amazing baseline move, Lewis delivered a triple at the other end to cut the margin to 63-60 with 2:34 left on the clock.
Huron’s Davis hit a sweet reverse layup to cut the deficit to 65-62 with 1:10 left. But Pryor knocked down four free throws and Lowder added two more to put the game away.
Pioneer outscored Huron 16-7 in the first quarter. A floater in the lane by Lowder gave Pioneer an 11-4 lead. Pryor’s slam dunk turned into a three-point play and a 16-7 lead late in the opening quarter.
Huron battled back in a high-scoring second quarter, outscoring the visitors 18-17 in the second period. Edmondson and Womack knocked down triples from the corner to pull Huron within 19-15.
Another triple from Womack cut the lead to 23-19 but a Pryor dunk pushed Pioneer ahead 28-19. Baskets late in the quarter by Lowder and Holmes sent Pioneer into halftime leading 33-25.
The River Rats cut into the lead in the third quarter, outscoring their guests 18-15. After a triple from Mike Robinson cut it to 35-31, Lowder knocked down a couple jumpers to take a 39-31 lead.
Late in the quarter, Lewis got in on the act, scoring a couple baskets to bring Huron to within 44-41. Holmes scored just before the buzzer to send the Pioneers into the fourth quarter with a 48-43 lead.