The teams went back and forth in the final minute with both teams having opportunities, but Delio making it count with a fadeaway jumper from the right side at just 3.2 seconds to play. A final 25 footer by Plymouth’s Clay Hilliard rolled just off the rim leaving the Panthers with the victory.
“They had a couple of kids really step up,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “Delio and (Caleb) Lung hurt us. We were fortunate to be in it at halftime. We kind of weathered the storm coming in (at half) with a two possession game. We saw some good things in the second half and gave ourselves a chance which what you want to happen. Just some tough situations at the end.”
Either Dileo or Lung would have been a good choice for the last shot as both were amazing shooting the basketball on the night. Delio missed just one shot all night going nine of 10 with 21 points. Lung was seven of 10 and five of seven from the free throw line for 19 points.
“They obviously had a game plan,” said Bales. “They went after our defense in certain areas they thought they could expose. You have to give those two guys credit. They hit the shots. Some of those they’d call good shots. Some of them we’d probably call good shots. They gained a lot of confidence early. They got going, and a streaky team you can’t allow that to happen and we let that happen.”
Plymouth did weather a first half storm, trailing by as much as nine in the first quarter they went in at half 28-24, thanks to some outstanding minutes off the bench from Evan Zeigler and Jake Reichard. Zeigler turned up the defensive heat slowing down Dileo and Reichard turned up some heat of his own with 11 first half points.
The Panthers came out of the locker room with a new resolve quickly stretching the lead to 10 and forcing a Plymouth timeout but by quarters end the Pilgrims claw their way back to hold a 38-36 lead.
“I thought we got aggressive,” said Bales. “We aren’t always going to be a team that gets the ball to the paint with a post feed. I thought we had some good drive’s to the basket. We didn’t play very physical on the offensive end. At least enough so to make an official make a call and that’s something that we have to get better at. In that stretch we got aggressive and made some stops.”
Plymouth got 14 points from Clay Hilliard and 13 from Kadin McCrammer along with seven rebounds from Garrett Tharp.
Both teams are now 5-2 on the season. Plymouth will have South Bend Riley at home on Tuesday night. NorthWood hosts their own shootout on Dec. 28.
•NORTHWOOD 52, PLYMOUTH 51
Plymouth 8 24 38 51
NorthWood 16 28 36 52
Plymouth (51) – Nixon 0 0-1 0, Hilliard 4 4-4 14, Filson 2 0-0 5, Zeigler 1 0-0 2, McCrammer 3 5-5 13, Reichard 4 1-2 12, Skirvin 0 0-0 0, Tharp 2 1-1 5. Totals 16 11-13 51.
NorthWood (52) – Gongwer 0 0-0 0, Bemiller 0 0-0 0, Delio 9 0-1 21, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Smart 1 1-2 3, Lung 7 5-7 19, Holland 0 0-0 0, Bean 3 1-1 9. Totals 20 7-11 52.
3 Pt. FG – Plymouth 8-20 (Reichard 3), NorthWood 5-11 (Delio 3).
Rebounds – Plymouth 16 (Tharp 7), NorthWood 22 (Lung 9).
Assists – Plymouth 9 (Hilliard, Wilson, McCrammer 2), NorthWood 12 (Gongwer 4).
Steals – Plymouth 6 (McCrammer 3), NorthWood 3 (Delio, Edwards, Smart).
Turnovers – Plymouth 6, NorthWood 9.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Plymouth 15, NorthWood 15 (Gongwer).