PLYMOUTH – What a difference a day makes as Plymouth’s Pilgrims revived from a lack luster Friday night loss to put together a dominating 48-37 win over Tippecanoe Valley at Plymouth on Saturday night.
“Definitely better but we have to get better,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “I can handle the fight, I can handle kids that work hard, We challenged them quite a bit last night and this morning. We shouldn’t forget last night and the lack of mentality we brought to the court. There was a difference tonight in how we went after rebounds, we’re getting deflections, we’ve got guys rotating. We still had some breakdowns but nowhere near what we had last night and it’s just focus and being in the right frame of mind.”
Friday night Elkhart Memorial had 21 rebounds at the half break and nine on the offensive boards. Valley paid the price of the coach’s challenge with just one rebound in the game’s first half. They ended the night with 15.
While the energy level was drastically different from the opening tip but seemed to jump to another level when the Pilgrims jumped into their full court defense and began to run away with the game. The decision to do so was spurred away from the Plymouth bench.
“I love it when they play instinctively,” said Bales. “That’s not something we called from the sideline. It’s not always about me forcing myself on them, that shouldn’t always have to happen. I love it when guys take intiative. That was on them. They wanted to go after them, but it’s not only that – they executed.”
There was a lot of praise to go around but the jump into the full court also allowed one Pilgrim to have a second solid night on the floor using his size and athleticism.
“Part of what Nate (Patterson) did great tonight was in his half court defense,” said Bales. “That’s something we’ve been on him about. He gets his arms out and gets in his stance it’s amazing how much ground he can cover down there. He changed a lot of shots and discouraged a lot of post passes just by him being in the right position.”
Patterson wasn’t the only player that drew the coaches attention. Senior captain Nick Felke led the Pilgrims in every statistical category – points (18), rebounds (6), steals (4), assists (3) – and never came off the floor in the game.
“I thought we needed great patience and I thought Nick (Felke) had that tonight,” said Bales. “He kind of let the game come to him. He didn’t feel he had to force a shot, but he also had a great effort on the defensive end. He was on their leading scorer (Alec Craig) averaging 18 points a game and he had two.”
“How about Cam Dennie coming off the bench tonight? His effort and hustle plays. I thought Cole Filson was outstanding in his first start – did a lot of good things for us so it was just a really good team win tonight.”
Plymouth moves to 8-4 on the season. Tippecanoe Valley is now 6-6.
Score by Quarters
T. Valley 9 19 25 37
Plymouth 10 30 43 48
Valley (37) – Tanner Trippiedi 3 3-3 10, Keith Wright 4 0-0 9, DeSean Heckaman 0 0-0 0, Alec Craig 0 2-2 2, Cameron Parker 0 0-0 0, Jarod Duzenbury 5 0-0 10,Wes Melanson 2 0-0 6. Totals 14 5-5 37.
Plymouth (48) – Benji Nixon 0 0-0 0, Clay Hilliard 2 0-0 5, Cam Dennie 5 0-0 11, Nick Felke 7 3-6 18, Nathan Patterson 3 2-2 8, Travis Owen 0 0-0 0, Cole Filson 3 0-0 6, Garrett Tharp 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 5-8 48.
3 Pt. FG – Valley 4-13 (Melanson 2), Plymouth 3-8 (Hilliard, Dennie, Felke).
Rebounds – Valley 15 (Duzenbery 7), Plymouth 24 (Felke 6).
Assists – Valley 10 (Craig 6), Plymouth 8 (Felke, Tharp 3).
Steals – Valley 6 (Wright 3), Plymouth 9 (Felke 4).
Turnovers – Valley 12, Plymouth 11
Fouls (Fouled Out) – Valley 9, Plymouth 12.