Boys basketball: Zach Van Hook gets help from Billy Barker in Lowell win
By Gregg Schwartz Post-Tribune correspondent December 20, 2013 11:32PM
Updated: January 22, 2014 6:18AM
LOWELL — Before Friday’s game, Lowell honored Zack Van Hook for passing the 1,000-point during Tuesday’s game at Portage. The senior then went out and scored the first points of the game on an open 3-pointer. As Van Hook went cold, his teammates picked up the slack before Van Hook closed out the 66-44 win over Hobart.
Van Hook wound up shooting 1-for-6 in that first half, but Billy Barker stepped up his game to fill the void. Barker scored five points and grabbed two rebounds in a 57-second stretch late in the first quarter to give the Red Devils (4-1) a 13-7 lead. Barker continued to find his stroke in the second period, scoring seven more of his 15 points.
“Billy has that capability,” Lowell coach Nate Richie said. “We need to Billy to be aggressive every single night.”
The game was decided on the backboards, as Lowell dominated the Brickies (2-3) 12-2 in the first quarter en route to a 35-13 rebounding advantage. Lowell made a point of focusing on that aspect during practice and reaped the results.
“We rebound every day, but we focused a lot on it this week after poor games last week like against West Side,” Barker said.
“We feel like we can win the rebounding battle every night, but to do that you have to work,” Richie said. “These guys are going in the right direction. We just have to keep on working on that kind of stuff.”
Brickies coach Mike Black applauded the Lowell effort.
“I think Lowell gets a lot of credit. For minutes in the game they outplayed us. We had stretches where we brought our lunch pail and worked really hard, but other stretches they had us.”
Juan Lamar scored 19 points and added three rebound for the Brickies. Van Hook finished with 23 points for the Red Devils on 7-for-10 shooting in the second half to close out the game.
Van Hook joins Austin Richie, Chris Jusevich and Mike Cash as 1,000-point scores in Lowell history.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” Nate Richie said. “But I can tell you right now that Zack would trade every single one of those points for four sectional championships. I can guarantee that.”
Right now, Richie likes the progress his team has made.
“We’re still learning,” Richie said. “That’s the nice thing. You want it all right now, but at the same time you’re happy with progression. We know we have a long way to go, this team’s hungry and we’re going to get there. It’s a matter of staying disciplined and bringing it everyday.”