PLYMOUTH — It was another night that started with promise only to end poorly as Plymouth lost a game on the road to Concord in an NLC match up 50—45.
“It puts us in a tough spot for sure when you have that bad quarter,” said Coach Bales. “It’s kind of the story of our season. We play 24 minutes. The goal to play 32 minutes is still up there. That continues to elude us.”
The Pilgrims would start short-handed with Cam Weidner and Seth Mills unavailable due to close contact tracing for COVID-19.
Out of the box with solid execution and an early lead in quarter one, the Pilgrims struggled with turnovers in quarter two and found themselves unable to dig out of a hole at the end of a tough night shooting.
A first quarter with no turnovers turned into a second-quarter with six as the Pilgrims fell behind and never really were able to climb out.
“We were careless at times and lackadaisical for sure at times,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “We can’t afford for that to happen. Every possession has got to matter. There is just a lack of focus at times from the offensive standpoint It was a key second quarter where the momentum kind of shifted there.”
Neither team lit up the scoreboard offensively but the Minutemen found a way to make enough shots fall to stay at arm’s length.
“We continue to struggle to put it in the basket,” said Bales. “I think that our defense let us down at some key moments we needed a big stop and sometimes when shots aren’t falling you have to find a way at the defensive end to come up with that big stop.”
A sluggish third quarter enabled Concord to extend its lead. Payton Fish came alive for Concord with eight points in the quarter to push the lead to eight at the quarter break.
Concord was able to grow that lead as high as 11 in the fourth quarter but the Pilgrims would make a final run.
In the final minute and a half of the game, the Pilgrims slashed into the Minutemen with Davis Wray hitting three crucial free throws and Nolan Bales banking in an off-balance three from the corner to bring Plymouth to within three points with 3.3 seconds to play.
It would be just too late.
“They had the answers tonight every time we got within striking distance,” he said. “I didn’t think our defense brought it like we’ve been doing. They shot 55 percent from the floor and it’s tough to win on the road when they do that and you get outrebounded.”
Plymouth got 16 from Easton Strain with five rebounds while Bales hit four three’s as part of 14 points and Davis Wray had nine.
The Pilgrims (2-11) have a short turn around as Elkhart will be in town tonight for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
•CONCORD 50, PLYMOUTH 45
Plymouth 13 22 31 45
Concord 11 25 39 50
Plymouth (45) — Bales 4 2-4 14, Yoder 1 0-0 2, Wray 3 3-3 9, Strain 6 3-6 16, Feece 2 0-0 4, Aker 0 0-0 0, Sheely 0 0-0 0, Creighbaum 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-14 45.
Concord (50) — D’Arcy 0 1-2 1, Davidson 0 2-2 2, Dixon 2 5-8 9, Moore 0 0-0 0, Fish 7 0-0 14, Swartout 0 0-0 0, Koltookian 6 1-2 13, Smith 4 0-1 11. Totals 19 9-15 50.