One abysmal quarter proved to be the Lowell Cardinals’ undoing in the quarterfinals of the 35th Bud Bresnahan Blue and Gold Classic.
Lowell was outscored 21-4 in the second quarter by Hillsdale, a margin the Cardinals couldn’t overcome in a 53-50 loss to the Fighting Knights at the first round of Jefferson’s early-season tournament.
“Because we’re early in the season, players lose sight of what we practice,” head coach Curtis Chan said of the second quarter. “We shot a lot of long, off-balance jumpers early in the clock and didn’t sprint back on defense.”
Even with the nightmarish quarter, Lowell (1-1) nearly came back. A mix of backdoor passes and a 2-2-1 press sparked a 14-2 run to cut the lead to 32-29 in the final minute of the third quarter, but Jordan Hauser restored control for Hillsdale (1-0).
A 6-foot senior, Hauser’s 3-pointer off an inbound pass doubled the lead, and he scored in the lane to put the Fighting Knights up 37-31 after three. His pull-up in the lane made it an eight-point game early in the fourth, and he hit a 3-pointer off an assist from his brother, Dante, to make it 44-33.
The Cardinals never got back within five until the final 20 seconds. Troy Smith’s 3-pointer with 1:21 left made it 48-42, but Brady Carson made a pair of free throws before a Sean Daly putback.
“Sean had a heck of a game,” Chan said of the 6-foot-6 senior, who made nine of his 11 shots from the field and scored a team-high 18 points, matching Jordan Hauser’s output.
Smith scored all 11 of his points in the second half, including eight in the third quarter, but his pair of missed free throws with 44 seconds left kept the gap at eight. He ended up rebounding his own miss, but Hillsdale still had three fouls to give, and Lowell didn’t score again until an Alex Hedger 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. Brayden Lee banked in a three with under 10 seconds to go, but with Lowell out of timeouts, the Knights were able to run the clock down until Dante Hauser was fouled with a second left. He made one of two free throws, and Lowell’s desperation heave was nowhere near the rim.
Dante, the feisty 5-foot-6 half of the Hauser brothers, was huge for Hillsdale in the 21-4 second quarter, scoring six points and dishing out three assists. After Daly had scored to put Lowell up 13-11, the Fighting Knights went on a 19-2 run over the final six-and-a-half minutes of the first half. Dante’s assist on a Caden Wellwood 3-pointer put Hillsdale up 16-13, and he hit Carson for another three to answer another basket from Daly. Dante then scored four straight points, including two on a pretty runner in the lane, and center Zachary Clumeck gave Hillsdale a 13-point advantage with a tip-in and a 3-pointer off yet another Dante assist.
Hedger finished with 10 points and five assists for Lowell, while Teddy McCarty scored eight. Carson scored eight for Hillsdale.
Lowell will play in the consolation bracket on Friday against Aragon (0-2), Hillsdale’s biggest rival. The Dons squandered an early double-digit lead and lost 53-45 to South San Francisco (2-0). Jefferson (1-1) will face Carlmont (1-0) in the semifinals, while Capuchino (0-2) will take on Galileo (0-2) in the consolation bracket.
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