PLYMOUTH — It was all it was expected to be and maybe even a little more than Plymouth may have wanted as Peru scrapped with the Pilgrims – literally – to the very end with the Big Red coming away with a hard earned 48-40 win.
The Tigers were able to force more turnovers in the game than the Pilgrims have had in the season with 21. Eight of those were in the wild first quarter that ended with the Tigers out in front.
“They deserve all the credit in the world for all their fight,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “They always make it interesting. No matter what their record is, no matter what their personnel is and 0-2 coming in. I’m sure he (Peru coach Eric Thompson) challenged them to compete.”
Compete they did to the last buzzer as the Peru defense appeared to shut off nearly every passing lane and challenged the Plymouth offense to find any sort of breathing room.
The Pilgrims finally found some in the third quarter.
“We made some good adjustments at halftime, bringing the offense out a little higher gave them some trouble,” said Bales. “We got Clay (Hilliard) open a couple times there on really good screens by Brayson (Leazenby). We did a better job in the second half stopping the dribble penetration which is always a key to our defense.”
Hilliard finally got some comfortable looks at the basket out of the locker room and hit three three’s on his way to 14 points. It would give the Pilgrims the cushion they needed to take the win.
“We’ve had way too many passes deflected (in the first half),” said Bales. “Defensively we love that but offensively that’s not a good thing. That means we aren’t executing. A lot of that was them. They were scrappy. They never gave up on a play. They were sprinting out of traps, they were sprinting out of their help side and they recovered quick enough to get a lot of deflections.”
The Pilgrims made another adjustment in the locker room.
“It’s good to play with emotion but I thought in the first half it was very negative emotion,” said Bales. “We were channeling our energy in the wrong places. I felt like in the second half we played a little more team basketball. We trusted each other a little more.”
Bales and the Pilgrims also got big nights from a pair of seniors with Garrett Tharp posting his second double/double in a row with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Kadin McCrammer had a big floor night with six rebounds, four assists three steals and a pair of blocked shots.
“When he (Tharp) is active like that even on the slips, even as a passer, it seems like guys know to get open because they know he’s going to look for them,” said Bales. “He’s also doing a good job working inside, battling. I felt like the rebounds that he got he went up very strong nobody was going to take it away from him.”
“It seems like when we’ve played well this year his (McCrammer) stat line is around 10 points, maybe six assists and he’s leading us in rebounding this year,” said Bales. “His versatility for us, when he’s inside getting rebounds he just seems to have a knack of getting in there and finding it. He’s a huge part of what we do.”
Plymouth moves to 5-1 on the year with its NLC opener on the road at NorthWood next Friday night.
•PLYMOUTH 48, PERU 40
Peru 10 18 24 40
Plymouth 8 18 32 48
Peru – Gysin 5 2-3 13, Adejokun 0 0-0 0, Fuller 2 1-4 6, Townsend 0 1-2 1, Crow 2 4-6 8, Majors 4 0-0 8, Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Chandler 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 8-15 40.
Plymouth (48) – Nixon 0 4-6 4, Hilliard 4 2-2 14, Filson 4 2-3 11, Zeigler 0 0-0 0, McCrammer 0 4-6 4, Reichard 0 0-0 0, Leazenby 0 0-0 0, Skirvin 0 0-0 0, Tharp 5 5-7 15. Totals 13 17-24 48.
3 Pt. FG – Peru 2-12 (Gysin, Fuller), Plymouth 5-18 (Hilliard 4).
Rebounds – Peru 25 (Crowe 8), Plymouth 34 (Tharp 13).
Assists – Peru 6 (Gysin, Fuller 2), Plymouth 11 (Hilliard 4, McCrammer 4).
Steals – Peru 14 (Gysin 4), Plymouth 5 (McCrammer 4).
Turnovers – Peru 13, Plymouth 21.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Peru 23 (Fuller), Plymouth 16.