A three-point bucket by the Raiders Julia Mantyla with just six seconds to play allowed Plymouth one last chance at a shot but they were unable to get it.
“They battled their fannies off tonight,” said Plymouth head coach Dave Duncan of his team’s fight. “They played a great team and gave ourselves a chance to win the ball game at the end. Give them (Northridge) credit they hit a couple of big three’s here in the fourth quarter.”
“I’m proud of our team and our effort,” he said. “We are a totally different team than what we were just four weeks ago. I’m proud of the way we battle. I’m proud of the way we do a lot of good things and it’s just because our kids are working hard.”
The hard work started off the tip with Northridge jumping to a quick lead but Plymouth had chipped it back to just three at the quarter break and fought through some first-half turnovers to be within a basket at the half.
“(Jaci) Walker got off early on us and then we made the decision to put Lindsay on her and I don’t think she got a lot of looks after that,” said Duncan. “Their other kids just stepped up.”
Mantyla was one of those not missing a shot all night on her way to the game-winner, but Plymouth’s sophomore Taylor Delp had a huge night for the Lady Pilgrims hitting for 19 points and four rebounds.
“Taylor wanted the ball tonight,” said Duncan. “She ran to the rim and she sealed. Obviously, our kids did a good job of finding her. She went hard. When she got the ball she didn’t just go to the basket, she went with authority and finished.”
Plymouth’s game plan of pushing the ball inside to Delp and Clare Sheedy paid dividends with the Lady Pilgrims able to get to the free-throw line while putting some key Raiders in foul trouble early.
“Lindsay (Janus) and Emma (Cook) just kind of set the table for everybody,” said Duncan. “I thought they were tremendous tonight. We feel like if we can play at that level we will give ourselves a chance to win the sectional.”
Early on the Raiders were able to force some Plymouth miscues but the Lady Pilgrims spaced the floor and let Cook and Janus take the ball to the rim finding open cutters and hitting shots of their own.
“They were in the passing lanes so hard and we felt like we had to give Lindsay and Emma a chance to get into the paint and I felt like they did that,” said Duncan.
The game would see eight lead changes in the second half, three in the fourth quarter with two ties.
Plymouth ends the regular season at 11-9, and 4-3 in NLC play.
The Lady Pilgrims will take on LaPorte in the opening game of the Mishawaka sectional on Tuesday night a team they beat a little over two weeks ago.
“We’re in the top bracket of our sectional and it’s loaded,” said Duncan. “If we play like we did tonight we will give ourselves a chance to be there. This will be a completely different game than the first time we played (LaPorte) so all our preparation is going into getting ready on Tuesday.”
•NORTHRIDGE 52, PLYMOUTH 50
Plymouth 11 23 35 50
Northridge 14 25 40 52
Plymouth (50) — COOK 3 1-1 8, Hunter 2 0-2 4, Janus 3 0-0 7, Delp 7 5-7 19, Gault 1 2-2 4, Sheedy 2 4-4 8, Dragani 0 0-0 0. totals 18 12-16 52.
Northridge (52) — Miller 2 0-2 6, Mantyla 4 4-4 16, Fisher 3 3-5 9, Walker 5 1-2 13, Knepp 2 4-4 8. Totals 16 12-17 52.
Rebounds — Northridge 18 (Miller, Fisher 5), Plymouth 24 (Gault 6).
Assists — Northridge 7 (Fisher 3), Plymouth 7 (Janus 5).
Steals — Northridge 7 (Miller, Knepp 3), Plymouth 3 (Janus 2).
Turnovers — Northridge 12, Plymouth 15.