PLYMOUTH — It was another night of facing off with a veteran, athletic opponent and unfortunately it was another loss as Plymouth dropped their second game of the week this time to NLC opponent Mishawaka by a 48-37 final.
Coming off a big win over Elkhart earlier this week Mishawaka made their first visit to Plymouth as a member of the NLC without veteran head coach Ron Hecklinski who was suffering medical issues and was unable to make the trip.
The Cavemen were on their heels for nearly all of the first quarter with Plymouth running out to an 8-0 lead and forcing six turnovers in the quarter.
Plymouth had the ball with a 13-4 lead and just 32 seconds left in the first when a flurry of Mishawaka pressure resulted in five points before the break.
The Pilgrims were able to weather the storm in the second quarter with Easton Strain on the bench with foul trouble and trailed by just two at the break.
“At both ends of the court I think that we flinched,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “Within five feet of the basket we just got manhandled too many times. They put their shoulder into us and we go flying back and yet there is no charge attempt at all. They had a little bit more fire in that area.”
That fire showed itself out of the locker room as Mishawaka’s Trent Johnson began to take control of the game. A run in the opening two minutes of the third quarter forced Bales to take a pair of timeouts to calm the storm.
“The tone was set in the third quarter,” said Bales. “(Trent) Johnson came out and got an underneath out of bounds, the best player on the court and we let him have a five-foot jumper. The next time down the court he had a wide-open three.”
“It’s a simple game and sometimes we just seem to make it a little more difficult on ourselves,” he said. “We’d run thirty seconds off the clock, forty-five seconds off the clock and it seems like the longer a possession goes for us the shakier we get. It’s something that we need to get better at.”
Turnovers in the second half were a problem for the Pilgrims as they ended the night with 18.
“Offensively we have to find a way to take care of the basketball,” said Bales. “We aren’t doing a good job with passing and catching, a lot of things are flying through our hands. Athletic teams speed us up and it’s just going to keep coming until we figure it out.”
“I thought Davis (Wray) did a good job tonight attacking and breaking down the defense and getting to the rim,” said Bales. “He had a nice floor game overall.”
Down the stretch, the Pilgrims were where they wanted to be, within striking distance in the final moments but couldn’t get a key play to turn the tide their way.
“I remember a few key stretches there where they wanted it more on the defensive end with steals and forcing us to panic,” said Bales. “We weren’t real crisp tonight and they made us pay.”
Plymouth (2-8) has no time to ponder the loss as they are back on the floor tonight with a home game against Tippecanoe Valley.
Plymouth lost a hard-fought contest in the JV game as well by a final of 44-40. Valley’s JV squad is currently having issues with COVID so the Plymouth AD’s office was able to arrange a JV game with Mishawaka Marian as a replacement for Saturday night.
•MISHAWAKA 48, PLYMOUTH 37
Plymouth 13 19 29 37
Mishawaka 9 21 35 48
Plymouth (37) — Weidner 1 0-0 3, Bales 1 0-0 3, Yoder 2 1-2 7, Wray 2 2-2 6, Strain 4 0-0 8, Feece 3 0-0 7, Aker 0 0-0 0, Mills 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 3-4 37.
Mishawaka (48) — Yohe 1 0-0 2, Johnson 7 5-6 21, Ward 0 0-1 0, Jones 2 0-0 4, Parker 1 0-0 2, B. Williams 4 0-0 8, C. Williams 2 0-0 4, Baker 1 3-3 5, Harringer 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 8-10 48.
Rebounds — Plymouth 20 (Yoder 5), Mishawaka 22 (Johnson, 4).
Assists — Plymouth 9 (Wray 7), Mishawaka 5 (Yohe 2).
Steals — Plymouth 7 (Yoder, Wray, Bales 2), Mishawaka 6.
Turnovers — Plymouth 18, Mishawaka 15.
Fouls (Fouled out) — Plymouth 15 (Feece), Mishawaka 9.