PLYMOUTH – The only thing in common was the outcome as Plymouth’s Pilgrims rebounded from a Friday night disaster at Concord with a spirited effort that fell just short losing at home to LaPorte 68-61.


The Slicers came in with a big conference win the night before over Chesterton and coming off their disappointing effort at Concord the Pilgrims were anything but timid, turning the heat up from the opening tip and showing a level of focus and intensity that has marked most of their wins on the season.


“When you work hard good things happen, I’m sure the crowd appreciates the work ethic, we (the coaches) appreciate it, now it’s just a matter of finding a way to get those ‘W’s’ and fiinsh things off when we have opportunities,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “It’s what’s so frustrating about last night because you don’t get the chance to go do it again. We have some high character kids, but right now we’re going every other game and that’s unacceptable. We can work with heart and work ethic, we can’t force effort. Hopefully we stop taking that for granted.”


Bales saw his team do the little things stressed in the Plymouth program from the outset, marked by a high energy first quarter from Cam Dennie. The sophomore stepped in to take two early charging calls setting a tone that had been missing the night before.


“It’s just that willingness to step in and take that,” said Bales. “Even if the ref calls a block in that instance you’re still making them earn it. That’s what you want. You want guys stepping in. I thought other guys stepped up as well. It was really a great whole team effort tonight.”


Rebounding from an off night Friday as well was senior captain Nick Felke, who had a season high 32 points, constantly forcing the issue in the game’s fourth quarter and hitting several clutch shots. Clay Hilliard continued to show his development with a second straight night of clutch shooting adding 17 points and four assists and six rebounds to lead the Pilgrims in that category.


A tough third quarter that saw the Pilgrims give up 21 points while scoring only nine would eventually be the difference in the game. Not going away Plymouth battled back through the fourth. The work ethic paid off with the Pilgrims in position to pull off the win in the games waning seconds trailing by a basket but missing out on a crucial rebound was the clincher.


“We turned up the press and it’s a one possession game when they miss a free throw,” said Bales. “That’s a rebound we have to get unfortunately they come up with it and it equals a win for them.”


The vast change in focus left Bales happy with the effort but puzzled as to the reason.


“We can’t take night’s off. We can’t do what we did last night and then come out and do what we did tonight,” said Bales. “I thought we battled, we took some early charges. That’s something we ask them to do every night, unfortunately we don’t always bring that focus level. We just wanted it tonight. You could see that. We came up short.


“We had a tough workout this morning. It shouldn’t take that to bring it out in us tonight. We have to practice this way all the time, we have to play this way every single night.”


The Pilgrims fall to 8-6 on the year while LaPorte moves to 11-3.


Score by Quarters

LaPorte 16 27 48 68

Plymouth 14 28 37 61


LaPorte (68) – Ben Dermody 1 7-8 9, Andy Samuelson 2 3-4 8, Austin Hakerkamp 0 0-0 0, Owen Streiter 5 7-9 17 Garrott Ott-Large 5 0-0 14, Jerry Fulton 1 0-0 2, Tervor Perry 0 0-0 0, Nik Ormsby 2 1-2 5, Scott Cooper 6 0-0 13. Totals 22 18-23 68.


Plymouth (61) – Clay Hilliard 6 0-0 17, Cam Dennie 3 0-0 8, Ryan Carmichael 0 0-0 0, Nick Felke 11 3-5 32, Nathan Patterson 2 0-0 4, Cole Filson 0 0-0 0, Garrett Tharp 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 3-5 61.


3 Pt. FG – LaPorte 6-15 (Ott-Large 4), Plymouth 14-30 (Felke 7).

Rebounds – LaPorte 26 (Dermody, Streiter 6), Plymouth 20 (Hilliard 6).

Assists – LaPorte 9 (Streiter 5), Plymouth 14 (Hilliard, Dennie, Felke 4).

Steals – Laporte 7 (Streiter 3), Plymouth 6 (Patterson 3).

Turnovers – LaPorte 14, Plymouth 12.

Fouls (Fouled Out) – LaPorte 11, Plymouth 17.