“We have to remind them that the mission is one possession at a time and you can’t let up on any possession,” said CMA coach Mark Galloway. “They get tired of me saying the same thing all the time but it’s really about building our defense and so we try to build our defense from day one to practice number 72.”
“We lost four games in a row in December,” he said. “I think that got their attention.”
“You never know how a game is going to go but you can’t get off to a start like that,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “You have to give them credit. They came out with a sense of urgency and put the hammer down on us early.”
“The whole game plan we talked about all week — of trying to move the ball and take time off the clock is awfully difficult when you get down double digits as early as we did.”
The lopsided score was caused by the CMA defense that was tenacious, aggressive and seemingly in every Plymouth passing lane as they forced four turnovers on the first four Pilgrim possessions and took the lead that they never relinquished.
“We wanted to speed up the game a little bit and I think you could tell on the one possession they (Plymouth) I think passed it 10, 11 times,” said Galloway. “They were going to try to spread us out and make us chase a little bit so we thought we could trap them and see how they handled it.”
“We talked a lot about what they were capable of doing which is hit the three so we knew we had to cover up the three,” he said. “I thought we did that pretty well.”
CMA neutralized Plymouth shooters forcing the Pilgrims to just 21 percent (5 of 23) on the night. Tanner Feece led Plymouth (6-17) with eight points. Adam Hunter had seven and Grant Houin off the bench had a very solid night for Plymouth with seven points and leading with four rebounds.
The Eagles shot a red hot 69 percent on the night (25 of 36) and were led by Trey Galloway with 19, Deontae Craig had 17 and sharpshooter Anthony Goeb was in double figures with 10
“They play at a different speed right now and they have the talent to do it,” said Bales. “They obviously are very deserving of their ranking.”
“We talked about it at halftime that we have ‘Plymouth’ across our chest and we want to play hard and we want to play the right way,” said Bales. “We showed a fight there in the second half and there are a lot of teams that would have just cashed it in. We stuck with it and did some good things.”
Meanwhile, CMA (18-4) moves on to play for the championship at LaPorte tonight against South Bend Adams who defeated Michigan City in game two 56-52.
“You would hope with four seniors that start we have a lot of team leadership and experience and they are battle-tested,” said Galloway. “You can talk about moving up to 4A or whatever but you have to be ready to play if it’s 1A or 4A.”
•CMA 66, PLYMOUTH 24
Plymouth 2 5 9 24
CMA 20 41 53 66
Plymouth (24) — Feece 2 3-5 8, Houin 1 5-7 7, Hunter 2 1-1 7, Hissong 0 2-2 2, Aker 0 0-0 0, Bales 0 0-0 0, Mills 0 0-0 0, Strain 0 0-0 0, Styers 0 0-0 0, Weidner 0 0-0 0, Wray 0 0-0 0, Yoder 0 0-0 0. Totals 5 11-17 24.
CMA (66) — Galloway 7 4-6 19, Craig 8 1-1 17, Goeb 4 0-0 10, Hittle 3 1-2 8, Martello 1 2-2 5, Gravenites 1 1-4 3, Cooper 1 0-0 2, Skurdenis 0 2-2 2. Totals 25 11-18 66.