Plymouth can’t close at Valley

AKRON — A second straight night, another frustrating finish for the Pilgrims.
Just 24 hours after a disappointing NLC loss at Elkhart Memorial, Plymouth again struggled to close at Tippecanoe Valley, falling by a 44-42 final on the road in Akron Saturday night.
With Plymouth leading 35-33 in the final moments of the fourth, Tippy Valley’s Tanner Andrews drove the length of the floor and laid in a buzzer-beater to force overtime, and Logan Britton sunk the game-winner off of a Chainey Zolman entry pass into the paint just ahead of the buzzer in the extra period, lifting Tippy Valley to the win and sealing the Pilgrims’ second straight loss in two nights.
“For the most part we battled pretty hard tonight; it’s unfortunate that we didn’t execute at the end of the game with another fourth quarter lead,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “Same old story — just not real smart basketball.
“It was just an unfortunate loss in a tough environment.”
The back-and-forth battle in Akron featured eight lead changes and five ties. The last tie came on Scott Carmichael’s triple from the corner off a Nick Felke drive and kick with 9.5 ticks remaining in overtime, but the Pilgrims couldn’t get the defensive stop they needed to force a second overtime.
With 14.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Plymouth held a 34-30 lead, but Trent Briles fouled Tanner Andrews going for his own rebound on a missed free throw, and Andrews split the ensuing freebies with the Vikings in the double bonus to cut the home team’s deficit to 34-31. Tyler England missed a pair of free throws with 13.5 seconds on the clock,, Chainey Zolman converted both of his charity tosses with six seconds left to play, and after Tom Felke split a pair of free throws with five seconds to play, Andrews received the ensuing inbounds pass and drove the floor for a lay-in that knotted the game at 35-all.
“We just wanted to play solid. We’re too up and down right now, too inconsistent,” said Bales. “We just talked about controlling what we can control and that was effort and attitude. I thought for the most part it was one of our better games being short-handed. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but missed free throws, fouling on a free throw, turnovers with a lead — it’s a recipe for another team’s comeback, and that’s what happened.”
Plymouth was led in scoring by freshman Nick Felke’s 12 points and Tom Felke’s eight, while England put up six points, and Briles scored five as the Pilgrims slid a notch under .500 at 4-5.
The Vikings were led by Andrews’ 13 points and Robby Groom’s 11 as they claimed their second straight win and moved to 6-2 on the season.
The Pilgrims return to Northern Lakes Conference action with a home game versus Concord Friday at 7:45 p.m.
“Certain situations, what we’re trying to accomplish, obviously we’re not executing right now so we’ve just got to go back to work next week and coach them through those times,” Bales said.
At Akron
Plymouth: 13 18 27 35 42
Tippy Valley: 11 17 27 35 44
PLYMOUTH (42): Matt Flynn 1 0-0 2, Jack Barron 1 4-4 6, Nick Felke 4 2-3 12, Nick Bayley 0 0-0 0, Trent Briles 1 2-3 5, Tom Felke 2 4-7 8, Scott Carmichael 1 0-0 3, Tyler England 2 2-4 6; Totals: 12 14-21 42.
TIPPY VALLEY (44): Ben Shriver 0 0-0 0, Robby Groom 2 5-8 11, Jarred Littlejohn 1 0-0 3, Tanner Andrews 5 3-5 13, Aaron Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Chainey Zolman 3 2-4 8, Gavin Bussard 0 2-4 2, Logan Britton 3 1-5 7; Totals: 14 13-26 44.
3-pointers: Plymouth 4 (N. Felke 2, Briles, Carmichael), Tippy Valley 3 (Groom 2, Littlejohn); Rebounds: Plymouth 19 (Briles 6, England 6), Tippy Valley 18 (Andrews 8); Steals: Plymouth 4 (Briles 2), Tippy Valley 7 (Andrews 4); Assists: Plymouth 6 (Briles 2, Felke 2), Tippy Valley 6; Turnovers: Plymouth 11; Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 24 (T. Felke), Tippy Valley 21 (Andrews).
Records: Plymouth 4-5, Tippy Valley 6-2.
JV score: Plymouth 40 (Matt Friar 10, Braydon Davidson 9, Sam Stone 9), Tippy Valley 29