CEDAR LAKE | Up until Wednesday night there was a “Help Wanted” sign for the Lowell girls basketball team’s frontcourt.
However, senior Nicole Kiszenia might have just ripped the sign out of the window, taken it inside and secured the job.
Relegated to junior varsity to start last season, Kiszenia came up to varsity for four games before a season-ending right ankle sprain.
The 6-foot-1 center enjoyed the finest game of her high school career Wednesday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in a sometimes-listless game for Lowell.
Kiszenia set career highs with 12 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots as Lowell remained undefeated and beat Hanover Central 66-44 Wednesday night.
“Nicole’s been a work in progress, and I think she really blossomed tonight,” Lowell coach Matt Welsh said. “She took some huge steps.”
Not all of those steps involved a lowered shoulder either. Kiszenia knocked down 10- and 12-foot jumpers as rewards for her rebounding and shot-blocking on the defensive end.
Kiszenia had eight points during a 13-0 third-quarter run that turned Hanover’s 27-26 lead into a 39-27 advantage for the Red Devils (5-0), who hadn’t won at Hanover Central since Nov. 23, 2005.
“I definitely don’t think people expected a jump shot out of me,” Kiszenia said. “It was definitely a surprise. I knew I could take advantage of our passing and had to screen and cut to get open.”
Lowell’s passing attack was led by Sarah Wieser’s 15 assists. The senior point guard added four points.
“Sarah’s been an absolute rock for us,” Welsh said. “We can’t have her off of the floor. It’s her show to run.”
Lowell’s Hunter Jusevitch led all scorers with 21 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, and Samantha Roach scored 13.
Hanover Central (2-3), which has lost three in a row, got 14 points from Kristen Roper and 11 from Frankie Turturillo.
The Red Devils led 11-8 after a quarter but needed Sara Lewandowski’s halftime buzzer-beater from the baseline to keep a 20-19 halftime lead. The second unit, including Kiszenia and Roach, gave the lethargic starters a boost before everyone regrouped to dominate the second half 46-25.
“We expected more of ourselves,” Kiszenia said. “We knew the first half wasn’t our best, but we didn’t look at our mistakes. We just moved forward.”