PLYMOUTH – At times it was masterful at others it was trying as Plymouth’s Pilgrims came from behind to take a 60-53 overtime win over John Glenn on opening night of the new basketball season.


“We got off to a great start, we got some stops and some scores early but the same thing happened last year,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We got up 11-0 on them and they came clawing back and they did the same thing tonight. The plays I remember are hustle plays, the offensive boards, the clamps, keeping the ball alive. Sure they missed some opportunities at the end but we aren’t in that position without some guys crashing the boards and coming up with second and third opportunities. That’s what it’s about for us.”


The Pilgrims jumped out to a quick first quarter lead but then Matt Strong and Mike Machnic decided to change all that for the Falcons. Strong buried key shots while Machnic attached himself to Plymouth senior Nick Felke and both helped inspire their team to a run that would give them their first lead of the game right before halftime.


“They had a gutty effort,” said Bales. “You have to give them credit. Players like (Matt) Strong and (Mike) Machnic taking the team on their shoulders, some other guys making hustle plays for them, they gave us tough looks. Things didn’t come easy for us at all.


“In my opinion (the game) was about hustle plays on both sides.”


The Pilgrims came out of the locker room at half sluggish and Glenn simply added to their lead, but Plymouth wouldn’t go away with the Pilgrims crawling within two at the third quarter break. The play of Clay Hilliard and Nathan Patterson made a significant difference in the second half.


“He (Hilliard) made some gutty shots down the stretch had some great attack moments on offense,” said Bales. “The moments I remember him tonight was being in the passing lane a couple times, coming up with some loose balls and some deflections, and obviously the offensive rebounds. He showed a ton of heart tonight.”


The defense of Ryan Carmichael was also instrumental down the stretch, matched up with the red hot Strong.


“The thing I like is that he stayed aggressive even with four fouls,” said Bales of his senior guard. “He played defense before his man caught the ball. Ryan at one point late was just fighting through screens, and we didn’t switch much. We just made the decision that Ryan is our best one on one defender and we felt he had to stay on him as much as possible. We had better awareness of him (Strong) down the stretch.”


With :01on the clock and the game tied at 43 a crucial foul call against Plymouth’s Garrett Tharp gave the Falcons a chance to seal the win by hitting one of two free throws but couldn’t complete either and the game got sent into overtime.


From their the Pilgrims were able to grind out the win taking advantage of free throws (20-23 from the line for the game) with the Falcons forced to foul in overtime.


“We’ve got to have other guys playing with that dagger mentality,” said Bales of his team’s performance. “We need that not going to back down type of approach. There were a couple times tonight we might have had a turnover and then the head drops a little. We’ve got to work through those things. We need them playing with confidence. In attack mode.”


Plymouth moves on to take on New Prairie on the road Saturday night.


Score By Quarters


Glenn 6 19 31 43 53

Plymouth 13 18 29 43 60


Glenn (53) – Borsch 0 0-0 0, Mago 4 1-4 10, C. Barker 1 0-0 2, George 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Strong 8 7-7 28, Machnic 3 3-6 11, Westafer 0 0-0 0, Totals 16 13-19 53.


Plymouth (60) – Hilliard 7 6-6 23, Dennie 0 3-4 3, Carmichael 1 2-4 4, Felke 3 6-6 14, Patterson 2 1-1 5, Owen 0 0-0 0, McCrammer 1 0-0 2, Filson 0 0-0 0, Games 0 0-0 0, Tharp 3 2-2 9. Totals 17 20-23 60.


3 Pt. FG – Glenn 8-21 (Strong 5), Plymouth 6-24 (Hilliard 3).

Rebounds – Glenn 25 (Mago 7), Plymouth 27 (Felke 5).

Assists – Glenn 7 (Machnic 4), Plymouth 12 (Felke 5).

Steals – Glenn 6 (Mago 2), Plymouth 11 (Felke 6).

Turnovers – Glenn 22, Plymouth 15.