SOUTH BEND – Nobody would blame Plymouth’s Pilgrims if they slept in a little this morning, as for the second time this week it took four extra minutes to push them to the sectional final for a second year in a row – beating Mishawaka in overtime 40-37.
“You really feel like you want to get some separation, go on some kind of a run, but as big as this game was for both teams you knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of separation,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “I thought we did a great job in the second half on execution. I thought we adjusted well with personnel. That group really responded and it’s a big win for us.”
The Pilgrims played well from the opening tip and despite an excellent first quarter still found themselves leading by just one at the quarter break. The Cavemen would gain the upper hand early in the second period to enable them to take a lead at halftime. But the Pilgrim defense would be the star of this one.
“Just a gutty effort by our kids,” said Bales. “Another night when a lot of things didn’t go our way. We were struggling all night to find our rhythm, find a rotation. We, finally get going there with back to back three’s but a lot of that was on defensive stops. The last twelve minutes we held them to one field goal.
“That’s the bottom line. We got down five in the second half, we got down six in the first half. Eventually you need defensive stops. We were ahead one at the end of the third quarter we told them ‘you get stops you win. You don’t have to score another point.’ We stayed very composed, it was a great team effort and we feel fortunate to be moving on.”
That twelve minute span of holding Mishawaka to a single basket from the field was key but winning the battle in the paint would be what the Pilgrims would need to pull out another victory and propel them into a second straight sectional final.
“We kept them out of the paint for the most part,” said Bales. “It seemed like whenever they took a shot we kept position on them. That helps your rebounding but you still have to finish it off. Tonight we had some guys come up with some big offensive boards as well.”
The Mishawaka duo of Devin Wakes and John Binion would never get the ball in a good position to do any damage inside and without their firepower the Cavemen couldn’t mount any offensive threat in the second half.
“Our kids had good patience,” said Bales. “Wakes hit an outside jumper and Binion hit an outside jumper and those are things that we have to live with. Our kids trusted the scouting report. That’s where we’ve really shown improvement in the last month. Our kids are listening and we’re taking some things away from our opponent.”
Plymouth moves to 15-9 and will play in the sectional title game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at South Bend Washington. Mishawaka ends their year at 9-14
Score by Quarters
Mishawaka 10 20 30 34 37
Plymouth 11 18 25 34 40
Mishawaka (37) – Luke Shively 4 2-2 10, Sam Shively 0 2-2 2, John Binion 4 4-6 12, Tre Sean Jefferies 0 0-0 0, Kenny Meniefield 0 0-0 0, Dylan Hall 3 1-4 9, Devin Wakes 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 11-16 37.
Plymouth (40) – Clay Hilliard 3 0-0 9, Ryan Carmichael 0 0-0 0, Nick Felke 6 2-3 17, Nathan Patterson 2 1-2 5, Kadin McCrammer 0 1-2 1, Dyllon Pavey 1 0-0 2, Cole Filson 0 2-2 2, Garrett Tharp 0 4-6 4. Totals 10-15 40.
3 Pt. FG – Mishawaka 2-10 (Hall 2), Plymouth 6-20 (Felke, Hilliard 3).
Rebounds – Mishawaka 19 (Binion 8), Plymouth 33 (Felke 7).
Assists – Mishawaka 3 (Binion 2), Plymouth 7 (Carmichael, Felke, McCrammer 2).
Steals – Mishawaka 7 (Hall 3), Plymouth 4 (Pavey 2).
Turnovers – Mishawaka 8, Plymouth 10.
Fouls (Fouled Out) – Mishawaka 14, Plymouth 15.