Cole, Glenn30 copyWALKERTON — It was wall to wall for Plymouth and John Glenn in a game that left even the fans exhausted with the defensive effort of both teams. In the end, the Pilgrims would walk away with a 46-35 win over the Falcons on opening night.

While it wasn’t the way either coach would have drawn it up in practice, the defensive intensity of both teams was at “March Madness” level.
“Nothing against Plymouth but I really thought we out-worked them,” said Glenn head coach Travis Hannah. “I don’t know that I’ve ever had a team work that hard for 32 minutes. The effort was there.”
“It makes it easy to know what kind of a team you have when you have effort,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “When you dog it or you’re lazy, you have no idea where you are. We see what we are capable of and we also see some things that we can work on. It’s a tough first game. Both teams know each other real well; emotions were high. We hit some timely shots but to hold them to 35 on their home court – I thought we played really gutty on the defensive end. Not really smart all the time, but we made them earn almost every thing.”
The Pilgrims ran out to a 9-0 lead but after a timeout Glenn recovered and went in at halftime tied at 17.
Offensively it was a first game for both teams with the usual first-game execution difficulties that played into the hands of Plymouth as well.
“We got bailed out early,” said Bales. “They missed some layups, had some isolation plays in the post and they did a great job and we weren’t awake on the help side. We didn’t have great ball pressure early but I felt we adjusted. We just have to play a little bit smarter.”
“It was a number of things,” said Hannah of some early struggles. “Clay Hilliard steps out and hits that three and that’s been a point of emphasis in practice the last two days. We struggled from the free throw line. We turned the ball over too many times — 22 turnovers is not a good number. We didn’t shoot very well in the first half especially. We have four or five guys with varsity experience but we had a lot of young guys on the floor tonight. Those are all things that are going to work themselves out as we go forward.”
Plymouth came out and was able to quickly grab a lead in the third and then extend it for the win.
The Pilgrims had just 12 turnovers, a noticeable improvement from its scrimmage Saturday.
“It’s a combination of being tougher with the ball and too much dribble at times, and not having guys in spots,” said Bales. “That middle man is huge. Getting that short, quick pass — it’s hard to pressure when you make short quick passes.”
On a night when offense was at a premium, Hilliard had the best of it with 21 points to lead all scorers. Glenn’s Zac Mago was the only other player in double figures with 12 — part of a double/double with 11 rebounds.
Plymouth is in action again Saturday against New Prairie in the Pilgrims’ home opener. Glenn will host South Central Tuesday.
At Glenn
Plymouth 13 4 16 13 – 46
Glenn 9 8 8 10 – 35
Plymouth (46) – Benji Nixon 3 2-2 8, Clay Hilliard 7 4-5 21, Bryce Carmichael 0 0-0 0, Cole Wilson 2 0-0 4, Evan Ziegler 0 0-0 0, Kadin McCrammer 3 0-2 7, Jake Reichard 0 0-0 0, Brayson Leazenby 0 0-2 0, Payton Skirvin 0 0-0 0, Tim Tremaine 0 0-0 0, Garrett Tharp 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 6-12 46.
Glenn (35) – Jake Morris 0 0-0 0, Robby Porter 2 3-4 9, Zac Mago 4 4-7 12, Collin Barker 1 0-0 2, Aaron Wright 0 0-0 0, Nick Frankiewics 0 0-0 0, Gabe Weiss 0 1-2 1, Mike Machnic 2 0-0 4, Khorie Barker 0 0-0 0, Nate Young 3 0-0 6, Carter Yung 0 0-0 0, Evan Driebelbeis 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 9-15 35.
3 Pt. FG – Plymouth 4-18 (Hilliard 3), Glenn 2-16 (Porter 2).
Rebounds – Plymouth 26 (McCrammer 4), Glenn 25 (Mago 11).
Assists – Plymouth 11 (Nixon 5), Glenn 3 (C. Barker, Machnic, K. Barker).
Steals – Plymouth 10 (Hilliard, Zeigler 3), Glenn 8 (Porter, Mago 2).
Turnovers – Plymouth 12, Glenn 18.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Plymouth 17, Glenn 17.