PLYMOUTH – It was full steam ahead for Plymouth’s Lady Pilgrims gave themselves an early Christmas present with an exciting win over Valparaiso 42-40.
“We told our kids Merry Christmas,” said Plymouth head coach Dave Duncan. “We’re going to take tomorrow and Christmas off and get back at in on Saturday.”
“Against Triton the other night I felt like everything seemed like it was work for us,” he said. “Tonight we let the game come to us a little more.”
For a team that started the year a little slowly and dealt with two quarantines already in the year the arrow for Plymouth continues to point straight up.
“That was a fun game,” said Duncan. “That’s (Valpo) a pretty darn good team. I thought the last two minutes of the first half we kind of lost our composure and let them have a little run and then the third quarter we came out and looked like an entirely different team.”
A back and forth battle through the first half turned into all Valpo in the final seconds of the second quarter. With the score 21-20 with just :40 left the Lady Vikings were able to go in at half with a 26-20 lead.
“It was a point of emphasis at halftime,” said Duncan. “We had ten turnovers and we cut that down. The first half we got really gappy (defensively) inside the paint they were able to get down the lane line and we were a half a step late. We talked at half time about how we wanted to tighten that up and we did.”
The Lady Pilgrims got “gappy” with the score in the third quarter, outscoring Valpo 19-1 in the eight minutes and taking a lead they would never give up.
The Lady Vikings were able to cut it back to just two late in the fourth quarter but Clare Sheedy stepped in to take a charge on what could have been the tying basket, and the Lady Pilgrims held on.
“We told our kids how proud we were of the way they managed the clock that last three minutes of the game,” said Duncan. “We got that lead and built it a couple of times, but we were always able to manage to move the ball around a little, make good decisions. For the most part we did a really good job of moving the ball tonight.”
Along with Sheedy’s outstanding night that included eight points and nine rebounds, Tallulah Gault hit several crucial three’s in the third-quarter run and the return of Lindsay Janus to the point guard spot was a very welcome sight.
“You see her leadership after a time out when she’s huddling up with the kids,” said Duncan of his senior guard. “Everybody is into it then and it’s a joy to have her as a leader on the floor.”
Plymouth evens their record at 5-5 and will be on the floor again on Wednesday as they travel to NorthWood for key NLC makeup game.
at Plymouth
Plymouth 11 20 39 42
Valpo 11 26 27 40
Plymouth (42) – Cook 1 0-1 2, Janus 4 4-6 13, Delp 1 3-6 5, Dragani 1 0-0 3, Gault 4 0-0 11, Dejarnatt 0 0-0 0, Sheedy 3 2-5 8. Totals 14 9-18 42.
Valpo (40) – Bukata 5 2-3 12, Benjamin 4 0-0 9, Oelling 3 6-6 13, E. Gerdt 0 1-3 1, B. Gerdt 1 0-0 2, Flynn 1 1-2 3. Totals 14 10-16 40.
3 Pt. FG – Valpo 2 (Benjamin, Oelling), Plymouth 5 (Gault 3).
Rebounds – Valpo 25 (Oelling 8), Plymouth 35 (Delp 11).
Assists – Valpo 7 (Bukata, Oelling 3), Plymouth 11 (Sheedy 4).
Steals – Valpo 15 (Bukata 6), Plymouth 9 (Gault, Sheedy, Janus 2)
Turnovers – Valpo 15, Plymouth 18.