After struggling in their opening week, one night of practice worked wonders for Plymouth’s Pilgrims who found a renewed intensity to beat a very intense Triton team on their home floor by a 41-38 final.
“I told them in the locker room you can’t take winning for granted,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We knew it was going to be a struggle tonight. We knew it was going to be a war and I wanted it to be for us. We needed to struggle through some adversity. I’m proud of our kids for continuing to stick with things.”
Plymouth led the entire night until a clutch three by Aston Oviedo with under a minute tied the game at 38.
“I thought they did a nice job of fighting back there at the end, I think the difference was just the physicality,” said Triton coach Jason Groves. “We’re not quite there physically yet. We have to get a little tougher at getting those rebounds, getting those loose balls.”
There also was the game of Jake Reichard. The Plymouth junior had 31 points, six rebounds and two assists in leading his team to the win.
“The effort was there,” said Groves of his team. “We did some things a little bit better tonight than we did in our last game and that’s a good sign. We tried to do different things to Reichard but couldn’t seem to figure it out. I thought Jared Bules did a great job on him he’s (Reichard) just a good basketball player.”
“It was more than just numbers it was the leadership,” said Bales of Reichard. “He was going to get the ball when he needed the ball but he was also making the right basketball play.”
“It was a team win tonight,” said Bales. “It wasn’t pretty at times. We’ve had moments in the first couple of games where things didn’t go our way, I thought we were very resilient tonight and show great character on the floor.”
After Oviedo’s heroics, Reichard got himself to the line on the next possession and split two free throws. The Pilgrims were fortunate on the rebound as Triton chased the rebound down in the corner with a chance to win and lost the handle giving it back to Plymouth with just 10.3 on the clock.
Reichard was fouled on the inbound, buried two more free throws and that would be it.
“I thought tonight some of our guys were a little bit passive,” said Groves. “We weren’t playing aggressively. In our scrimmage, we were super aggressive attacking all the time and for some reason tonight something was just not quite there offensively.”
“It seemed like we were second-guessing ourselves a little bit and you can’t play that way.”
Triton is 1-1 on the year with a game at home against NorthWood on Friday night. Plymouth, at 1-2, is also at home against South Bend Adams.
•PLYMOUTH 41, TRITON 38
Plymouth 12 18 32 41
Triton 9 15 26 38
Plymouth (41) — Weidner 1 0-0 2, Styers 0 0-2 0, Yoder 0 0-0 0, Reichard 9 10-14 31, Hissong 1 0-0 3, Houin 1 0-0 2, Barron0 1-2 1, Strain 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 13-20 41.
Triton (38) — Oviedo 5 2-4 16, Bules 0 0-0 0, Gardner 2 0-0 5, Yates 4 3-3 11, Amsden 1 0-0 2, Heckaman 2 0-0 4, Westafer 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-7 38.
Rebounds — Plymouth 24 (Reichard 6), Triton 25 (Heckaman 8).
Assists — Plymouth 5 (Weidner, Reichard 2), Triton 9 (Heckaman 3).
Steals — Plymouth 6 (Weidner 3), Triton 5 (Oviedo 2).
Turnovers — Plymouth 9, Triton 14.
Fouls (Fouled out) — Plymouth 11, Triton 15 (Bules).