PLYMOUTH — It was all Warsaw from the opening tip as Plymouth took a loss at home to their rival 70-44.
The win gives the Tigers a share of the NLC title for the sixth time in the last seven years. Warsaw jumped to a 20-3 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
“They have some nice players they had a good game plan, they spread us out and tonight they were hitting shots as well,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We kept fighting in the second half but they definitely played a good game tonight.”
Turnovers were again a problem for the Plymouth offense as they ended the night with 17 but 10 of those were in the first quarter.
“The last couple of games we’ve been better with our ball control so not a great effort tonight in a game like this,” said Bales. “We have to be able to get quality shots and be able to handle the ball.”
“Too many times we’re picking up the dribble with nobody to throw it to, too many careless passes,” he said. “The tough thing is that it’s a team effort right now. It’s something that we have to get better at as a team.”
Warsaw was able to get 25 points off of Plymouth miscues on the night, almost exactly the margin of victory.
Defensively the Tigers intensity kept the Plymouth offense on its heels for much of the night and dominated the boards grabbing 27 rebounds to Plymouth’s 14.
“They (Warsaw) pride themselves on (defense) and the rebounding part and I think they controlled both aspects of that,” said Bales. “They have some athletes and some strong kids and they just out physicalled us on the defensive end and on loose ball rebounds and even the grab strong rebounds. Those are the ones that we have to have and right now we aren’t getting those. We continue to work on it and emphasize it.”
Offensively the Tigers game plan broke down the Plymouth defense. The play of Warsaw guards Jaxon Gould and the shooting of Bishop Walters made it a tough night for the Pilgrims.
Gould had a career night with 26 points, eight assists, six steals, and five rebounds leading Warsaw in all categories. Walters had 18 on six of ten from behind the three-point line.
“They spread us out and our one on one defense in the first half was not very good,” said Bales. “We just did not execute. It’s little things right now and teams like this will pick us apart and that’s what they did.”
The Pilgrims did their best to keep pace but couldn’t recover from the 23-3 run that opened the game. Davis Wray led the Pilgrims with a great second half where he scored 15 of his 18 points aggressively attacking the rim.
“The last two weeks we’ve noticed in practice he’s getting back to what we need him to be and who we need him to be,” said Bales of Wray. “He’s playing more positive and that obviously makes more positive plays for us. He continued to attack on the offensive end.”
Live does not get any easier for the Pilgrims as they return home on Tuesday to take on Penn and then end the season on the road at South Bend St. Joe.
“We have to trust that they will keep fighting and working hard,” said Bales of his team. “Sometimes on game night we are running into some really good teams and we aren’t doing the little things that we need to be successful.
at Plymouth
Warsaw 20 38 54 70
Plymouth 3 18 30 44
Plymouth (70) — Caden Weidner 1 0-0 3, Cam Weidner 0 1-2 1, Bales 3 0-0 8, Yoder 0 0-0 0, Wray 5 4-5 18, Feece 2 4-4 8, Lark 0 0-0 0, Hall 0 0-0 0, Aker 0 0-0 0, Mills 1 1-1 3, Creighbaum 0 0-0 0, Walters 0 0-0 0, Sheely 0 2-2 2, DeLee 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 13-16 44.
Warsaw (70) — Simfukwe 4 1-1 10, Gould 11 0-0 26, Bergen 1 0-0 2, Walters 6 0-0 18, Heckaman 2 0-0 5, Dawson 2 2-2 6, J. Dawson 2 2-2 6, K. Dawson 1 1-2 3. Totals 27 4-5 70.
3 Pt. FG — Warsaw 12 (Walters 6), Plymouth 7 (Wray 4).
Rebounds — Warsaw 27 (Gould 5), Plymouth 14 (Sheely 4).
Assists — Warsaw 17 (Gould 8), Plymouth 8 (Wray 4).
Steals — Warsaw 9 (Gould 6), Plymouth 9 (Cam Weidner, Aker 2).
Turnovers — Warsaw 15, Plymouth 17
Fouls (Fouled out) — Warsaw 15, Plymouth 11.