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Lowell eliminated by Lake Central

Lake Central's Tyler Wideman (left) Lowell's Zack VanHook fight for rebound during opening round West Side boys basketball sectionals held

Lake Central's Tyler Wideman (left) and Lowell's Zack VanHook fight for a rebound during the opening round of the West Side boys basketball sectionals held at West Side High School in Gary on Tuesday February 26, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Med

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4A Sectional 1

@ GARY WEST SIDE

QUARTERFINALS

Lake Central 54, LOWELL 44

Munster 55, East Chicago 45

Gary West Side 55, Highland 34

SEMIFINALS

Lake Central 70, Morton 36

Munster 62, Gary West Side 46

CHAMPIONSHIP

Munster 43, Lake Central 41 (OT)

LOWELL Red Devils (9-13)

Coach: Nate Richie (30-34) 3 years

Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) games in CAPS

Nov. 21 (L) 43-44 Hanover Central (15-8)

Nov. 27 (L) 49-53 at Gary West Side (12-8)

Dec. 1 (L) 42-56 at East Chicago (10-11)

Dec. 4 (L) 70-73 (OT) Gavit (12-10)

Dec. 7 (W) 54-38 Morton (10-11)

Dec. 11 (W) 44-28 Hebron (9-11)

Dec. 14 (W) 51-44 at HOBART (5-16)

Dec. 20 (L) 54-41 Northfield (16-8)

Dec. 21 (L) 52-64 Hagerstown (21-3)

Dec. 22 (L) 42-45 Caston (15-7)

Jan. 5 (L) 38-54 at HIGHLAND (7-15)

Jan. 8 (W) 65-41 at Calumet (6-16)

Jan. 11 (W) 44-42 GRIFFITH (12-11)

Jan. 15 (L) 42-71 Lake Central (15-8)

Jan. 19 (W) 60-35 Kankakee Valley (12-10)

Jan. 25 (L) 48-58 at MUNSTER (25-0)

Feb. 1 (L) 36-39 ANDREAN (20-3)

Feb. 7 (W) 61-53 Boone Grove (14-8)

Feb. 12 (L) 60-68 Merrillville (20-3)

Feb. 16 (W) 48-30 at Crown Point (5-16)

Feb. 19 (L) 46-51 at Wheeler (13-8)

Class 4A Gary West Side Sectional

2-27 (L) 44-54 Lake Central (15-8)

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Updated: March 5, 2013 11:56AM



When you look at Lowell’s varsity boys basketball tournament history, it shows that Lowell does not have much post-season history.

The only four sectional titles that Lowell has ever won were 1968, 1972, 1978 and 1993 and those victories are so old that Lowell assistant coach Chris Jusevitch played on the last one of them.

The initiation of class playoffs in 1997 was supposed to give smaller schools a fair chance to defeat larger ones. It worked for many of them.

Lowell was not one of the many.

The Devils were slotted with Class 4A teams to the north like Gary West Side and East Chicago as well as 3,200-teen giant Lake Central.

So the Devils won’t ever dominate Class 4A Sectional 1 for years at a time. Nobody will. You saw a little of the problem last week when Lowell gave it a go but lost 54-44 to Lake Central, the eventual runner-up in the Class 4A Gary West Side Sectional.

Junior Zach Van Hook shot just 5-of-17 from the floor but scored 12 pf his 17 points in the seceond half.

LC (15-8), which would lose the sectional title game to Munster last Saturday, led all the way despite making just 22 of 37 foul shots. But in any given year, the Devils might break through.

Next year might be “any given year.”

First of all, Lowell expects to return four boys who started games at the end of the season and five (including injured forward Aaron Hamm) who started at one time or another.

The Devils return Northwest Indiana’s Top scorer, Zach Van Hook with Hamm, long range shooter Billy Barker, top rebounder Eric Zukauskas and point guard Brandon Cory, who joined the varsity in January.

I don’t know how many boys on the junior varsity can step up and play quality minutes but 6-foot-6 freshman center Hayden Monix will be needed against Lowell’s larger foes.

The reason for optimism is that Lowell has displayed an alternative way of playing effectively against quality opponents. The Devils, under coach Nate Richie, have pushed the ball up the floor and taken “opportunity” shots with all-stater Austin Richie (now starting at Western Michigan) and Van Hook, a Division I prospect. There was and still is reason to play that way.

But midway through this season, they also found they added a delay style of offense that proved very frustrating to quality opponents like LC, Andrean and Munster. While the won-loss record last year (9-12) and this season (9-13) were virtually the same, this was an improved and more versatile Red Devil team.

Lowell still needs depth. You can’t win this sectional using just six players.

But with Munster and Andrean graduating the majority of their starters and Lake Central and East Chicago formidable at a quick pace but vulnerable against a patient offense, Lowell would seem to have a big chance in the 2014 state tournament.

For which preparation probably begins now.

NOTES: The Devils were 0-4 against teams that won 20 games, including Class 1A Hagerstown.

Lowell was 2-3 against sectional champions Northfield, Boone Grove, Munster, Merrillville and Andrean.

Lowell has been in Class 4A sectional 1 (with LC EC and Munster) for 13 years and has never won it. This was the fifth consecutive season that Lowell has lost the opening state tournament game.

Lowell won the Kankakee Valley Sectional in the old one-class state tournament in 1993.



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