LOWELL | Region hoops fans have been talking about this since the middle of November. On paper, it seemed, Lowell's Red Devils had a shot to end Munster's freak-show streak in the Northwest Crossroads Conference boys basketball.
Everything seemed ready for history to be made. A winter storm warning didn't keep “The Pit” from being packed, wall to wall. There were enough white T-shirts in the Devils' student section to make a big drift in the parking lot.
But, as usual, same old same old.
Munster 79, Lowell 59.
The Mustangs are now 40-0 in NCC history. The “oh” is not a typo. Munster has never lost in this league. Actually, Luke Harangody was a senior at Andrean the last time Mike Hackett lost a league game.
“And we should've won that game, too,” Hackett said.
Junior Drew Hackett, the coach's son, said he and his mates knew long ago how big Friday night's game would be. They knew this was a good Red Devils team. They knew what they had to do.
“We had to beat them in the second quarter,” Drew Hackett said. “We did not want them hanging around.”
Hackett and Kevin Schlotman, both juniors, did what you have to do in a big game in a hostile gym.
“They shot the (doo doo) out of it,” Lowell coach Nate Richie said.
Munster was 28-of-53 from the field and 13-of-24 from beyond the arc. For those in Indianapolis looking at the Indiana Junior All-Star team this summer, Hackett had 28 points and only missed four shots from the field.
Schlotman scored 17, including four 3-pointers.
“We wanted to let them know as early as possible that we weren't going to let this streak end,” Drew Hackett said.
Yes, Munster is one of the region's top programs, and one of Indiana's best. The same cannot be said of the NCC. There are young, growing programs, like Lowell, Griffith and Andrean, but to go seven-plus years without one bad night is insane.
“To do something like this you have to have a killer instinct,” Mike Hackett said. “These guys don't want to be on the team that lets this thing end.”
No disrespect to the 'Stangs, but Mother Nature has been a pain in Lowell's program so far. The Devils hadn't played in three weeks and half of their practices have been snowed or cold out.
This team looked a little off, out of rhythm and a step slow. Much of it was Munster's excellence. Some of it was playing Xbox under a blanket while others were practicing.
“They came into our gym and didn't seem to miss a shot,” Richie said. “We'll learn from it. We'll get better.”
These two teams could play again in March. And hopefully some day Munster will join the Duneland Conference. That might be the only way to stop this streak.