PLYMOUTH — After Saturday’s loss to Penn, Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales had a special message for star forward Mack Mercer. The gist of it was: play bigger.
The 6-9 Belmont-bound senior took the message to heart Tuesday, charging out of the gates with nine first-quarter points on his way to a game-high 26 and putting in a stellar defensive performance on Culver Military’s Devonte Campbell on the other end of the floor to lead his team to a 55-50 rebound win over the Eagles on Senior Night at The Rock.
“Mack, we had a little chat, and I think he came out of the gate with that sense of urgency,” said Bales. “When he wants to he can score inside or outside, and he just does such a great job… We loved him being aggressive, and he was very efficient tonight on both ends of the court.”
“He’s 6-9, possibly an Indiana All-Star; he was a Junior All-Star core player. He’s really good; I mean 26 points,” said CMA coach Mark Galloway. “I thought he did a good job, but when he’s off the court we need to take advantage of that, and we didn’t.”
Mercer’s performance was all the more impressive for the fact that he sat out the entire second quarter in foul trouble.
Josh Anders was also sidelined with two fouls during a large stretch of the first half, and the Eagles jumped out to a 20-16 lead during the span, but Plymouth got solid minutes from reserves Tyler England and Jack Barron, and senior Tom Felke knocked down a pair of 3s during a 12-0 Pilgrims spurt that saw the home team take a 26-20 lead into halftime.
“It was huge. It’s one of those things where you’re going to kind of wait and see how CMA responds in that second quarter with Mack subbed out,” said Bales. “A tribute to our bench guys because they work extremely hard in practice, and I thought it was huge for us. At that point we were down by a few buckets, and for us to go up at halftime was a big run for our team, and it just shows you the importance of always being ready to play.”
• PLYMOUTH 55,
CULVER MILITARY 50
CMA: 16 20 38 50
Plymouth: 12 26 42 55
CMA (50): Justin Batiz 0, Devonte Campbell 13, Elijah Miller 21, Sam Concannon 0, Nick Zalduendo 9, Rayford Dexter El 7, Addyson Allyn 0, Lorenzo Ricks 0, Jamario Rule 0; Totals: 19 7-8 50.
PLYMOUTH (55): Matt Flynn 3, Jack Barron 0, Nick Felke 0, Nick Bayley 0, Mack Mercer 26, Reis Yoder 0, Trent Briles 3, Josh Anders 7, Tom Felke 16, Scott Carmichael 0, Tyler England 0; Totals: 18 11-13 55.
3-pointers: CMA 5 (Zalduendo 3, Miller, Dexter El), Plymouth 8 (Flynn, Mercer 3, Briles, T. Felke); Rebounds: CMA 22 (Miller 6), Plymouth 14 (Mercer 4); Turnovers: CMA 9, Plymouth 9; Steals: CMA 5 (Campbell 3), Plymouth 2; Assists: CMA 7 (Miller 5), Plymouth 10 (Flynn 3); Fouls (fouled out): CMA 14 (Campell), Plymouth 13 (none).
Records: CMA 10-5, Plymouth 7-10
For the complete story, read Tuesday's edition of the Pilot News.