Good run down the stretch enough for Pilgrims

Jake Reichard splits Marshal Miller, Austin Miller
Rusty Nixon
Sports Editor

It was a tough night on the road but Plymouth’s Pilgrims had just enough to hold off Wawasee and take a 56-47 NLC win.
“We had some big plays down the stretch,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “They hit some gutty shots but we hit enough free throws there at the end and took care of the ball and did a good enough job execution wise to pull this one out.”
It was a game of runs with the Pilgrims getting out to an 11 point lead on several occasions during the game only to see the Warriors chip it back to one. Late in the fourth quarter it was a one possession game.
“You felt like watching them in the second half they were playing with nothing to lose,” said Bales. “You never know how they're going to play. Sometimes they come out and hold the ball but I felt they played really aggressive all night.”
Which led to a strategic switch defensively for Plymouth as they mixed it up on that end of the floor, in the first half changing defenses on nearly every change of possession.
“We switched up defenses there from time to time and sometimes I think we confused ourselves,” said Bales. “We didn't do a great job of executing our defense at times.”
“I think our composure won out,” he said. “It was a one possession game and we ended up getting Hilliard to the free throw line and that was a big play for us. We had a lot of basketballs that went off our hands that led to wide open threes for them. Offensive boards lead to easy kick outs.”
Wawasee ended up taking 29 shots behind the arc and early on the shooting of Bennett Hoffert from behind the line kept the Warriors hanging around. Hoffert ended the night with 16 points. In the end Wawasee would go cold and the rebounding that had been key, suddenly started going the Pilgrims way.
“No matter what the score is you have to play a 32 minute game,” said Bales. “These guys aren’t going to quit. Especially here at home.”
It makes seven in a row for the Pilgrims who have a rough weekend on the road next week at Northridge on Friday and Mishawaka on Saturday.
“I think a lot of this is our execution as a team on offense,” said Bales. “We’re getting some great reversals, quick short passes which is something that we weren’t doing early in the year. That’s something that we’ve been working on a lot.”
“There’s a lot of trust right now with everybody,” he said. “Everybody is giving it up, sharing. We are playing very together on both ends of the court.”
Plymouth is now 12-3 and unbeaten in the NLC. Wawasee moves to 3-9.
at Wawasee
Plymouth 14 15 12 15 - 56
Wawasee 6 14 15 12 - 47
Plymouth (56) - Hunter 1 0-0 2, Hilliard 5 6-6 21, Carmichael 0 0-0 0, Filson 5 3-3 14, Reichard 3 6-7 12, Tremaine 1 2-2 5, Dolan 0 2-2 2, Barron 0 0-2 0, Winkle 0 0-0 0, Himes 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 19-22 56.
Wawasee (47) - Salazar 4 0-2 9, M. Miller 0 0-0 0, Hoffert 5 2-2 16, Carey 0 0-0 0, A. Miller 3 0-2 8, Evans 2 0-0 5, Slabaugh 0 0-0 0, Dukes 1 1-1 3, Hammer 1 0-0 2, Hardy 1 2-4 4. Totals 17 5-11 47.
3 Pt. FG - Plymouth 7-14 (Hilliard 5), Wawasee 8-29 (Hoffert 4).
Rebounds - Plymouth 27 (Reichard 6), Wawasee 18 (Miller 5).
Assists - Plymouth 18 (Filson, Reichard 4), Wawasee 10 (Hoffert, Evans 3).
Steals - Plymouth 4 (Hilliard 2), Wawasee 6 (Salazar, Miller 2).
Turnovers - Plymouth 13, Wawasee 9.
Fouls (Fouled out) - Plymouth 15, Wawasee 20.