By Zack Farmer
Lowell head boys basketball coach Wyman Lee said junior forward Sam Pollard needed to be more aggressive and the message was received loud and clear on Thursday.
Pollard scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter of Lowell’s 56-38 win over visiting Bay in the first round of the Cardinal Classic.
“[Pollard] has been developing a little bit more of an aggressive attitude since the start of the season,” Lee said. “He’s been looking to get to the basket a little bit more and I think this first quarter he made an effort to get to the rim each time he touched the ball.”
Lowell (3-2) scored the first seven points of the game, with five of them coming from Pollard. The Cardinals also benefited from a poor shooting quarter from Bay.
“[I’m] just getting out of my comfort zone,” Pollard said when asked the difference in his game. “[I’m] taking shots that I don’t normally take and sometimes they drop. So once I start hitting them, I feel a lot more comfortable.”
Lowell took an 11-point lead after the first quarter behind a 6-of-12 shooting performance from the field, including four layups.
“I think we were lucky enough where they didn’t ball pressure us,” Lee said. “We’ve struggled with that for the past week or so, when teams have gotten in us. They allowed us to run our sets and as we ran our sets, we came off of our screens open and converted our layups.”
As the Cardinals were getting easy looks, the Breakers (3-2) shot 2-of-11 from the floor in the first quarter.
“We missed eight shots in the paint and Lowell’s a solid team, and if you can’t take advantage of your opportunities they are going to play pretty good [defense],” said Bay head coach Pete Overfelt.
Bay also has to find a comfort zone without two of their best players, Chase Johnson and Justice Skolnik. Johnson is out for the season after tearing his ACL during the fall soccer season and Skolnik is out until January with a hamstring injury.
“This game and our last game, we’ve been very cold in the first half,” Overfelt said. “We’ve got two or three kids that can really score and we’re just having some trouble in the first half getting the ball in the hole.”
Bay started to get in rhythm during the second quarter and cut the lead down to seven points at the halftime break., but both teams went into a major drought in the third quarter and neither scored until the 4:14 mark.
That’s when Lowell came alive.
The Cardinals went on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 41-25.
Lee pulled his starters after that and Bay began to make another run and nearly cut the Lowell lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. Bay senior Lucas Knoor led the charge and finished with a team-high 12 points.
Fearing a run from the Breakers, Lowell got their starters back in and put the game on ice.
“We got a little nervous where it was a 10-point game and we didn’t want them to make a run and we put our starters in to secure the game,” Lee said.
Sam Pollard – 20
Jason Ho – 9
Alex Hum – 7
Jonathan Li – 5
Two players tied with 4 points
Lucas Knoor – 12
Jason Nemerovski – 9
James Wasney – 7
Willie Swindells – 5
Shawn Sie – 3