DUNLAP – Plymouth’s Lady Pilgrims held on but couldn’t hold off Elkhart Central falling 49-33 in opening round sectional action at Concord.
The Blazers were able to hit their first two three point attempts and never looked back on the way to taking the win. Their size and athleticism kept the Lady Pilgrims off stride all night long.
“I thought Central had a great game plan and they were disciplined enough to get a lead and hold a lead,” said Plymouth coach Dave Duncan. “They spread us out and made us uncomfortable and made us play harder and harder and the gaps got bigger and bigger so they had a great game plan coming in.”
That game plan put Central on the attack for the whole first half and able to spread the floor the athletic play of guards Mady Miller and Trinitee Harris enabled them to take advantage of those gaps in the Plymouth defense. Able to penetrate to the paint they found post player Makayla Roundtree and Raleyah Ross for easy baskets.
Plymouth countered with a zone but once again the Blazers attacked it with ball movement and cast the defense in transition for several easy baskets.
The approach took Plymouth out of everything they wanted to accomplish for the entire game.
“We wanted to attack their big kids a little more and we didn’t do that,” said Duncan. “We thought we had some athleticism mismatches and we felt our inside kids would have scoring opportunities and we didn’t exploit that.”
With senior Alli Andrews recovering from illness Elkhart took away Plymouth’s other key scoring threat – Halle Reichard – with Mady Miller chasing her around the floor the entire first half. Reichard had few opportunities to even touch the ball and didn’t have a chance to get a shot in the first half.
“There was no continuity on the offensive end and on defense our rotations were a little bit slow,” said Duncan. “They were super athletic. When we would start closing out on somebody they’d already made a dribble or two past us. They played really well.”
Cutting the difference to 29-21 early in the third quarter Plymouth fought back but an 11-0 run gave Elkhart all the cushion they would need to take the win. Poor shooting would be the final nail to a tough night for the Lady Pilgrims.
“It was one of those nights,” said Duncan. “If two or three of those shots fall early for us it may change the way this game was played, but that didn’t happen.”
The Lady Pilgrims end the season at 11-12. Elkhart Central is now 15-8 and take on Northridge in semi-final action on Friday.