The stands at Crown Point High School were packed and students were all decked out in country or all white outfits, ready to cheer on the Munster Mustangs and the Lowell Red Devils to a Sectional Championship. After a hard fight, the Mustangs walked away carrying the Sectional trophy with a final score of 56-33.
The senior-heavy Red Devils took charge during the first quarter, shocking the Mustangs. Munster has been one of the most dominant teams in the area all season long, but the Red Devils weren’t going to go without a fight. At the end of the first quarter, the Red Devils led by a pair, 9-7. The Mustangs bounced back in the second quarter and took the lead. Munster’s student section responded and rallied behind the boys as they attacked the hoop. The Mustangs entered halftime on top with a score of 18-12.
In the locker room, Tyler Zabrecky and his fellow seniors rallied the Mustangs together. The team inspired each other to get the job done. When the athletes left the locker room, they came back and dominated the second half. Lowell struggled to score against the Munster defense and the Mustangs would run away with the game, scoring 23 points in the third quarter compared to the Red Devil’s 6 points. Lowell fought hard but could not close the gap.
“Our defense has been really solid this whole tournament. Teams have had a real tough time scoring against us,” Munster Head Coach Mike Hackett said. “Once we broke through offensively and stopped turning the ball over, the kids were able to relax and just play.”
Four years ago, Hackett made a promise to his senior players when they were just freshman. He told them they would eventually take home a sectional title if they stuck it out and gave it all they got.
“We made that promise to win a sectional, and we got it done. I’m just extremely proud of this senior group,” Hackett said. “It took a lot of hard work and patience to go from a losing season to 24 wins this season, but it feels really good right now.”
Some of the Munster seniors first started playing together back in third grade. The close-knit group has been through everything together and sat behind the bench as eighth graders when Munster won their last sectional title in 2015. After the final buzzer, the Mustangs could not hide their excitement as they cut down the net.
“Thinking about this moment, even before it happened, gives me chills. We have all been dreaming of this night,” senior Tyler Zabrecky stated.
On the other side of the court, the Red Devils walked away disappointed, but proud. Lowell Head Coach Joseph Delgado expressed his gratitude for his seniors.
"A lot of people doubted our group from the beginning, and they had a lot of trials and tribulations throughout the year,” Delgado stated. "To get this far is a great achievement for them. Our large group of seniors got us to this point and now it's the younger kids job to get us past the Sectional Championship [next season].”
Congratulations to Lowell High School on a great season and good luck to Munster High School as they advance to Regionals, where they will play Northridge!