Leading at the end of one quarter and within three after three, the Pilgrims saw the game run away, literally in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as Riley put up 25 to Plymouth’s 11 to seal the win.
“We had some moments similar to our last game (against NorthWood),” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We got down we showed some fight, we have to give our kids credit for that. They came out in that fourth quarter and we didn’t have an answer for them. We had an answer for them most of the night until that point and with them it gets away quickly.
“They are good at what they do and they executed really well in that first three or four minutes (of the fourth quarter) and that was the ballgame.”
Once again the Pilgrims were able to match one of the state’s best team’s nearly blow for blow, actually controlling the action for much of the first half. The Pilgrim defense held Riley’s key offensive threat and arguably one of the best junior players in the state – Damezi Anderson – to just two first half points. Unfortunately on a night when Anderson may have been a little off, his teammates weren’t. Five Wildcats – Junior Scott, Shamar Dillard, Anderson, Roland Austin and Rylan Gundy – ended the night in double figures scoring.
Meanwhile the Pilgrims had a huge night from senior captain Nick Felke with 25 but Kadin McCrammer’s 9 was second in the points total.
“Where they are as a team right now you can’t guard just one guy,” said Bales. “You can’t guard Damezi Anderson and forget about Junior Scott or he’s taking it to the basket. We have to do a better job of paying attention to the scouting report. The little tendencies that they have. It’s amazing what a difference that can make to get a team as athletic as them out of their comfort zone.”
That balance is something that Bales is hoping his team can find as they continue through the season headed to a possible sectional rematch.
“They (Riley) are so good in space and we took a couple of quick shots and that’s what they want,” said Bales. “I think we did a pretty good job most of the night not settling. Ultimately we’re looking for some balance – somebody to take the pressure off of Nick a little bit – knock down a shot or make a play and it’s not from lack of trying. We’ve got to learn to get things within the course of the offense. There were a lot of times tonight that I thought we made the right basketball play, it just comes down to the execution.”
It was still an effort that has Bales encouraged about his team moving forward.
“We put on the board ‘play with pride,’” said Bales. “We gave them hard fouls in the right way, we challenged them and put a body on people to get an over the back call, we came up with a loose ball. Those are the kind of things that we have to continue to do for four quarters.”
“Within five feet of the basket is where they killed us tonight. That’s where we have to do a better job.”
The Pilgrims move to 5-3 on the season with the Plymouth shoot out coming up at PHS on Tuesday. Riley stays unbeaten at 8-0.
Score by Quarters
Plymouth 15 26 50 61
Riley 13 31 53 78
Plymouth (61) – Clay Hilliard 2 1-2 6, Cam Dennie 2 0-0 5, Ryan Carmichael 1 0-0 2, Nick Felke 8 5-10 25, Travis Owen 2 0-0 4, Kadin McCrammer 3 1-1 9, Cole Filson 1 0-0 3, Garrett Tharp 3 0-0 7. Totals 22 7-13 61.
Riley (78) – Junior Scott 6 0-1 12, Jalen Jennings 0 0-0 0, Shamar Dillard 8 3-3 20, Damezi Anderson 8 1-2 18, Roland Austin 5 2-2 12, Rylan Gundy 5 2-4 12, Nate Marino 1 0-0 3, Marlon Taylor 0 1-4 1. Totals 33 9-16 78.
3 Pt. FG – Plymouth 10-24 (Felke 4), Riley 3-8 (Dillard, Marino, Anderson).
Rebounds – Plymouth 19 (Tharp 5), Riley 31 (Dillard 8).
Assists – Plymouth 11 (Hilliard, Carmichael 3), Riley 10 (Scott 7).
Steals – Plymouth 5 (Dennie 3), Riley 8 (Anderson, Scott 3).
Turnovers – Plymouth 14, Riley 10.
Fouls (Fouled Out) – Plymouth 16, Riley 13.