PLCOle, KadoYMOUTH — A new year meant a new start for Plymouth’s Pilgrims, and that start was a good one as they were able to take a 49-44 win over NLC rival Concord.

While the Pilgrims’ execution was key on both ends of the floor the bench was a big part of the Plymouth first half success.

“I thought (Brayson) Leazenby and (Payton) Skirvin gave us great minutes in the first half,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We were battling some flu and that allowed us to give guys a break but we didn’t miss a beat. I think we even extended the lead.”
That they did as the bench troops gave the Pilgrims rock solid minutes and allowed them to extend a three-point lead to seven by halftime.
Another rock solid push out of the locker room led to the Pilgrims extending the lead quickly but by quarters end the Minutmen had made a big dent in that lead.
“I say we showed a lot of guts tonight,” said Bales. “They came at us. They made a run in the second half which you expected. Then we get a kid like (Jake) Reichard that air balls a three – I think he was saying it was an alley-oop pass – and the next time he touches it he buries a three. You have to have guts.”
Part of those guts were the Pilgrims neutralizing a huge size disadvantage in the post. Concord’s 6’4” center Grant Magnuson had only five points and while 6’4” post man Michael Johnson ended the night with a double/double of 21 points and 11 rebounds, they were all earned.
“We had a great team effort on the night,” said Bales. “Our defense took them out of some things. They’ve been a great team getting into their sets and getting their big men involved and I thought we made a concerted effort getting after their guards tonight and I thought our guards did a great job in our press defense.”
One thing the Pilgrims had in the scouting report was to neutralize the Concord post and for the most part they were able to do that.
“We were battling a little bit of sickness but we haven’t pressed a lot but we felt like we had to get them out of things,” said Bales. “Against Goshen it was unreal the amount of times they scored up the sideline. By pressing a little bit I think it slowed them down from looking up the court.”
Rebounding was also a big plus for the Pilgrims limiting the offensive boards and number of second shots they allowed.
“As hard as we worked on the defensive end tonight, you don’t want to be deflated and give up a rebound,” said Bales. “I think there was a pride factor involved tonight in a good way.”
“We had a few bad possessions there,” he said. “Offensively we got away from what we were doing but we regrouped and adjusted and made some plays.”
Plymouth is 7-6 on the year and plays tonight at LaPorte. Concord is now 4-7 and plays next week at Elkhart Central.
At Plymouth
Concord 12 21 31 44
Plymouth 15 29 35 49
Concord (44) – Shoemaker 1 0-0 2, Auger 1 0-0 2, Lucchese 2 0-0 6, Cain 0 1-2 1, Andreini 1 0-0 3, Neveraski 0 1-2 1, McDougle 1 0-0 3, Johnson 7 5-5 21, Yoder 0 0-0 0, Magnuson 2 1-2 5. Totals 15 8-11 44.
Plymouth (49) – Nixon 0 1-2 1, Hilliard 3 3-4 11, Carmichael 0 0-0 0, Filson 1 3-4 5, McCrammer 3 1-1 9, Reichard 2 0-0 6, Leazenby 1 0-0 2, Skirvin 0 0-0 0, Tharp 6 1-4 15. Totals 16 9-15 49.
3 Pt. FG – Concord 6-21 (Lucchese, Johnson 2), Plymouth 8-23 (Hilliard, McCrammer, Reichard, Tharp 2).
Rebounds – Concord 31 (Johnson 11), Plymouth 28 (Tharp 7).
Assists – Concord 8 (Shoemaker, Lucchese 2), Plymouth 10 (Filson 4).
Steals – Concord 3 (Lucchese 2), Plymouth 7 (McCrammer 2).
Turnovers – Concord 15, Plymouth 7.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Concord 17, Plymouth 12.