PLYMOUTH – Plymouth continued to move forward once again against a talented opponent as they dropped a home contest to South Bend Riley 57-44.
The Pilgrims were able to keep control of the tempo for most of the game but the athleticism of the Wildcats would be too much in the second half.
“It was a physical basketball game and we sure didn’t back down tonight and that’s what you are looking for,” said Plymouth coach Joel Grindle. “I think that they were coming in wanting to bully us as in ‘we’ll just pressure you and go lay up fest’ but our kids competed and got after it.”
“Our kids have some pride and they are starting to play with some pride and that’s what Plymouth basketball is all about, getting after people and not backing down,” he said. “I think that we set the tone early with guys taking charges, getting on the floor after the ball, and that’s all you can ask.”
The very athletic and deep Riley squad did push the issue with full-court pressure for most of the game but in spite of that, the Pilgrims had their best night as far as turnovers with just 13.
They also kept the high-powered offense of the Wildcats in check enough to stay within reach for most of the game.
“They just scored 89 points in their last outing against Northridge and it was 8-6 at the first quarter, 22-15 at the half,” said Grindle. “We are starting to run things that look the way we want them to. We are getting the ball to Easton Strain and he’s playing the way we need him to play. We have our guys playing their roles, we just need whoever is going to be our second scorer to step up. We have to figure out a way to knock in some more shots.”
Strain led all scorers in the game with 17 points.
The Pilgrims also kept the much taller Wildcats off of the offensive boards to cut down on put-back baskets while controlling the flow of the game. The play of the Pilgrim perimeter players was instrumental in that.
“We didn’t get sped up tonight against a team that that’s what they want to do,” said Grindle. “Trey Hall has done a nice job, Coby Walters is coming around and Zane Lark gave us good minutes tonight. They are showing some major growth.”
Michael Sheely asserted himself in the middle for the second game in a row, a key to what the Pilgrims want to accomplish.
That’s what we expect from Michael Sheely,” said Grindle. “He is a competitive kid. He’s a leader in the locker room and in the hallway, we expect that from him.”
In the second half, Riley was able to wear the Pilgrims down, stretching their lead to 12 and never looking back.
The JV also lost to Riley by a final of 57-40
Plymouth is off until Dec. 30 when they welcome West Central, Jimtown, and Knox to Plymouth for their annual shoot-out. The Pilgrims (0-7) will take on West Central in game one at 10:30 a.m.
*RILEY 57, PLYMOUTH 44
Plymouth 6 15 26 44
Riley 8 22 39 57
Plymouth (44) – Hall 0 0-0 0, Lark 1 0-0 2, Creighbaum 0 0-0 0, Walters 3 0-0 7, Wray 3 0-0 5, Strain 7 2-2 17, Feece 2 3-4 7, Sheely 1 4-4 6. Totals 16 9-11 44.
Riley (57) – Baird 2 0-0 4, Barbera 1 0-0 3, Chism 0 0-0 0, Spann 1 0-0 3, Schindler 3 2-2 11, Robinson 4 2-4 10, Francis 2 -=- 4, Boyd 0 2-4 2, Williams 5 1-2 11, Robert 4 0-2 9. Totals 22 7-14 57.