PLYMOUTH — It was one of those nights when nothing would fall and it doomed Plymouth in a 42-32 NLC opening loss to NorthWood.
The Pilgrim’s offense was sharp on execution but a multitude of good looks at the basket turned into just 14 first-half points. For the game, the Pilgrims were 11-33 from the field for just 33 percent on the night.
“We worked a lot offensively to try to give our guys a better chance this week,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “I think that we did do some good things we got some good looks but ultimately we have to hit some timely shots.”
“They are on a 5-0 run in the second quarter and we have to have somebody step up at that point and make a play.”
NorthWood committed an uncharacteristic number of errors, especially early in the game, that gave the Pilgrims ample opportunities. They could never take full advantage but staying in the hunt trailing by no more than five points in the first half.
The Panthers committed nine first-half turnovers to just three for the Pilgrims as they struggled with problems of their own. Of 15 turnovers on the night, most were of the unforced variety.
The Pilgrims found a little bit of success by the halftime end with 12 of their 14 points coming on 3-pt baskets.
Once again Plymouth struggled in the third quarter to hold back the Panther offense and could manage just Cam Weidner’s three-point basket on their own offensive end.
Gapping the score, the Panthers gapped the rebounding gap in the frame as well, as NorthWood’s more physical play began to show on the scoreboard.
“We did not play real physical and I think that they bumped us off of some cuts, they bumped us off of some screens,” said Bales. “There are some situations in there where we didn’t play real physical in terms of our execution.”
Trailing by 16 at the quarter break Plymouth cut it back to single digits late in the fourth quarter. Poor free-throw shooting by the Panthers (5-12) gave the Pilgrims a chance.
“The number of free throw attempts for us this season is not real positive,” said Bales. “A lot of that goes back to physical play, getting a shoulder-in. We have to get to a point where we can fight for our kids with the officials, if we don’t take the ball up strong it’s tough to be able to battle for them if you are fading away and not taking the ball up strong.”
“We did some good things down the stretch,” said Bales. “Easton (Strain) got to the line a few more times. It was contested shots but he was taking it in a lot stronger and the officials a lot of time will give you the call in those situations.”
On a night when offense was rare Strain had 12 points — 10 of those in the fourth quarter — to lead Plymouth.
Plymouth will have little time to rebound as they will be in action again tonight at home against Triton.
•NORTHWOOD 42, PLYMOUTH 32
Plymouth 6 14 17 32
NorthWood 7 19 33 42
Plymouth (32) — Weidner 3 0-0 9, Bales 3 0-0 8, Yoder 1 0-0 3, Wray 0 0-0 0, Strain 4 4-4 12, Feece 0 0-0 0, Aker 0 0-0 0, Mills 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 4-4 32.
NorthWood — Raasch 4 1-4 10, Brenner 2 0-1 6, Yoder 0 0-0 0, Vincent 2 1-2 7, Jackson 1 1-2 3, Wiens 5 2-2 12, Bontrager 1 0-0 2, Graham 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 4-11 42.
3 Pt. FG — Plymouth 6 (Weidner 3), NorthWood 5 (Brenner, Vincent 2).
Rebounds — Plymouth 9 (Weidner 4), NorthWood 27 (Wiens 8).
Assists — Plymouth 8 (Weidner, Bales, Wray 2), NorthWood 10 (Raasch 4).
Steals — Plymouth 6 (Yoder 3), NorthWood 5 (Raasch 3).
Turnovers — Plymouth 9, NorthWood 16.
Fouls (Fouled out) — Plymouth 17, NorthWood 7.