LaPorte’s was high intensity from the opening tip but in spite of doing a lot of crucial things very well an off shooting night was really the difference in the game as LaPorte was 19 of 53 (35 percent) shooting from the field.
The bottom line was the Pilgrims ability to weather the storm of the Slicer intensity.
“I felt beat up on the sideline,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “There was a lot of contact in that game and I like that. It was fiery and intense especially during some big possessions. That’s part of the game. It’s important we keep our composure. While that intensity was great it’s going to be even greater come sectional time.”
“It was a great game for us,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “It’s never easy going back to back and we knew they were going to play hard. In the first three or four minutes of the game and out of the locker room at halftime they’ve been a great team all year. Did we win the first three or four minutes? I don’t know but I think we weathered the storm.”
The Pilgrims were able to do that with some solid shooting and for a second straight night some very solid minutes off the bench. Bryce Carmichael, Jake Reichard, Evan Ziegler, Brayson Leazenby and Payton Skirvin again provided solid minutes off the bench and wearing down the Slicers over the course of the game.
LaPorte made a concerted effort to put pressure on Clay Hilliard and a testament to the Plymouth team effort was that Hilliard still managed to find enough open looks to bury a game high 17 points, much of it off an aggressive screening offense as the Pilgrims continue to refine their offensive identity.
“We were able to get our shooters off and that’s what we need to do,” said Bales. “When we stand on the opposite side I think our ball handlers maybe panic a little bit. Just a simple basket cut makes a difference.”
“I think things change from game to game but we are figuring out the team aspect,” said Bales. “If we try to go one on one that’s not our game. When we move the basketball and take care of it and swing it, to me that has become our identity and that’s when we execute.”
Kadin McCrammer had 11 points and a game team high five assists, Benji Nixon pulled out the offense for nine points adding a pair of rebounds and steals and Cole Filson had eight key points helping Plymouth weather the early storm.
“The bottom line is that whenever your name is called you have to be able to step up and be ready to play,” said Bales. “I think some guys are doing that and we are starting to see some good things from them.”
“Ultimately we have to have some guys that make the simple play and we had some guys in key stretches that were able to do that,” said Bales. “And once we were able to settle in defensively things went well.”
Plymouth is now 8-6 and take on Wawasee on Friday night at Plymouth High School.
•PLYMOUTH 61, LAPORTE 45
Plymouth 19 34 44 61
LaPorte 12 17 25 45
Plymouth (61) – Nixon 4 1-3 9, Hilliard 5 4-4 17, Carmichael 0 1-2 1, Filson 1 6-6 8, McCrammer 3 4-6 11, Reichard 2 0-0 6, Leazenby 0 1-2 1, Tharp 4 0-1 8. Totals 19 17-24 61.
LaPorte (45) – Cabrera 1 0-1 2, HakerKamp 4 0-0 9, Crass 1 0-0 2, Ott-Large 5 1-1 13, Spence 2 0-0 6, Jenkins 4 0-0 8, Seaburg 2 1-2 5. Totals 19 2-4 45.
3 Pt. FG – Plymouth 6-12 (Hilliard 3), LaPorte 5-20 (Ott-Large, Spence 2).
Rebounds – Plymouth 26 (Tharp 5), LaPorte 25 (Crass 5).
Assists – Plymouth 9 (McCrammer 5), LaPorte 10 (Crass 6).
Steals – Plymouth 7 (Nixon 2), LaPorte 9 (Crass, Ott-Large 3).
Turnovers – Plymouth 18, LaPorte 14.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Plymouth 16, LaPorte 21.