Sunday, January 12, 2003
Stowers switch brings Norse wins
Ex-starter Brenden shines as sixth man; Jordan runs point
By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Coming into this season, Brenden Stowers was Northern Kentucky University's top returning scorer and assist man. He started all but two games last season.
So entering his senior year, Stowers knew he'd get plenty of minutes. But he worried about his brother, sophomore Jordan Stowers - his backup at point guard.
"I always thought last year that Jordan got a lot of good minutes, and going into this year, I thought he should be starting," Brenden said. "When it comes to being a point guard, he's a lot better than me. I'm more of a scorer and I like to go to the basket. He likes to set up the offense and run the team. If I had to choose a point guard, I'd definitely take him over me."
Starting both brothers sounded like a good idea, with the departure of NKU's all-time leading scorer, Craig Sanders, leaving a spot for Brenden at shooting guard.
Norse coach Ken Shields had other ideas. After Brenden's 0-for-9 shooting performance against Cincinnati in NKU's final preseason game, Shields inserted Jordan in big brother's spot.
"It kind of surprised me at first," Jordan said. "Coming into the season, I was just hoping to get some playing time. When (Shields) announced the starting lineup for the first game, I was kind of in shock."
Although he admits it took time to adjust, Brenden's play as NKU's sixth man makes Shields look like a substitution genius.
Brenden leads the team in points (15.1 per game) and assists (52) in his 29.1 minutes a game; Jordan is second on the team with 35 assists in his 16.1 minutes a game. More important, the Norse are winning. Thanks in part to Shields' philosophy, NKU is 13-2 and leads the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
"I've always been a believer that when you go to your first substitution, you either have to be as good a team or a better team than what you started with," Shields said. "... We started winning, and I don't change things when we win."
But after a 74-60 loss at Hillsdale, the Norse's first of the season, Shields did some tinkering. He inserted Brenden and Quentin Smith into the starting lineup in a game at Indianapolis, but NKU got its second loss, 73-72.
"When I started at Indianapolis, I started thinking that I'd rather be coming off the bench," Brenden said. "I get to see what's going on. Me and my brother kind of have the same game, and it's the same way with me and (starter) Bobby (St-Preux). So I look on the floor and see how they're playing those two guys and go from there."
After the loss at Indianapolis, Shields went back to bringing the elder Stowers off the bench and even experimented with playing both brothers at the same time. In NKU's 100-99 win at St.Joseph's, Brenden scored a career-high 35 points, including his 1,000th career point. Most of his time on the floor was with Jordan at point guard.
"I hope we do that more," Jordan said. "It depends on the other team. When they go with a smaller, quicker lineup, we'll both be in there."
OthersWithrow grad and Ohio University senior Brandon Hunter, last week's Mid-American Conference East Division player of the week, leads the nation in rebounding with 13 a game.
Annie Schenck, an Indian Hill grad playing soccer at Emory University, was named third-team all-region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Sycamore grad Mary Williams was appointed as a captain of the Ohio University women's track and field team.
Oak Hills alumnus Mike Lee, a guard at Ohio Dominican, was last week's American Mideast Conference basketball player of the week. Lee led the Panthers to a 3-0 week including two wins over nationally ranked opponents.
Former Enquirer Player of the Year Pat O'Brien, a McNicholas grad and senior at Kent State, was named a College Baseball Writers Association second-team All-American.
Xavier freshman Tara Boothe, a Highlands alum, earned her third Atlantic 10 rookie of the week honor last week. Boothe scored a career-high 22 points in the Musketeers' 78-64 loss to Mississippi State.
Austin King, an offensive lineman at Northwestern and a Purcell Marian alum, will play in the Hula Bowl Maui All-Star game Feb. 1.
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Grab a pal, head for the hill