Pilgrims bounce back at Bremen in rare Monday night game

BREMEN — It was a back to work Monday for everybody it seems, including Plymouth’s Pilgrims and Bremen’s Lions meeting in a rare Monday boys varsity basketball game, and it was the Pilgrims who rolled up their sleeves and came away with a win on the road by a final of 66-38.
“The game was decided in the first two minutes because they flat played harder than us in every facet of the game,” said Bremen Head Coach Ryan Eakins. “We can sit and say we didn’t have this, we didn’t have that, we had a rough stretch, we were tired but when it flat comes down to it they out-played us because they played harder than us. Coach Bales does an excellent job and they play like a ball club that wants to compete.”
“I was proud of our guys tonight, we challenged them before the game on things that have nothing to do with the scoreboard but with all aspects of the game,” said Plymouth Head Coach Ryan Bales. “We played hard, we played together and the guys off the bench came in and did a great job and to me that’s what Plymouth basketball is all about. It’s not just winning or losing but how you win and how you lose and how you play the game, and I think our guys did a great job of that tonight whether we won or lost.”
The Pilgrims hit early and often jumping to a 15-6 first quarter lead and never looking back as a stifling defense and execution on offense kept the Lions chasing them all night long. The win is an especially important one for a Pilgrim team that has struggled at times on the road, coming away with a win in a Bremen gym that traditionally has been very tough on Pilgrim teams.
“This is always a tough place to play,” said Bales. “I remember coming over here as a player and usually they (Bremen) would shoot the lights out. I really think it’s a tribute to our kids, I thought they came ready to play. This is a big week for us. We have a couple of big games this weekend, and I thought we came out with a real purpose.”
While fighting uphill, the Lions (5-7) refused to back off, but ice cold shooting would be their downfall. Bremen could manage just 12 of 41 from the field (29 percent) and one of nine from behind the 3-point line (11 percent).
“When the ball is going in the basket it always makes things look better, but I always look at the ball going in the basket as usually an indication of how aggressive you’re playing,” said Eakins. “Plymouth without a doubt was the aggressor, and that’s why their shots went down and ours didn’t.”
Senior Austin Huff gave the Lions a second half lift, but it wasn’t enough.
“Huff played his rear end off tonight and he’s a senior, he’s one who gets it; he doesn’t have many games left,” said Eakins. “This is the last shot these guys will get at Plymouth, and he took that as a challenge.”
Plymouth was able to get every player significant floor time. No member of the roster played less than a full quarter in the game, and it is a positive that Bales hopes pays off during the dog days of the season.
“All year long I think our depth has been a key,” said Bales. “When somebody doesn’t bring their ‘A’ game or somebody is in foul trouble we have to have guys ready to play. I think that makes a difference when you take the floor. It doesn’t take you a minute or two to make plays. A lot of it is just hard work and hustle.”
Plymouth (8-4) plays at home with NLC foe Northridge on Friday and Mishawaka on Saturday. Bremen (5-7) is at home on Friday with NSC opponent New Prairie.
At Bremen
Score by quarters
Plymouth: 15 33 51 66
Bremen: 6 18 30 38
PLYMOUTH (66): Ryan McNeil 6 0-0 11, Gabe Vervynckt 0 0-0 0, Joe Knapp 1 2-2 4, David Lee 0 0-0 0, Connor Flynn 0 2-4 2, Mack Mercer 4 1-2 9, Ike Kastner 5 4-4 12, Kyser McCrammer 1 1-2 3, John Ruff 2 3-4 7, Kyle Kaser 2 1-1 5, Tom Felke 6 4-4 13, Hayden Skirvin 0 0-0 0; Totals 28 17-22 66.
BREMEN (38): Ben Hueni 1 0-1 2, Don Browning 0 0-0 0, Wes Burkholder 0 0-0 0, T.J. Bayer 1 2-2 4, Ethan Pike 4 5-6 12, Jacob Box 0 1-2 1, Tim Zimmer 1 2-2 4, Phoenix Ricketts 0 0-2 0, Austin Huff 5 1-3 11, Dillion Mullen 0 2-2 2, Mitch Huppert 1 0-0 2; Totals 13 13-19 38.
3-pointers: Plymouth 7 (Felke 3, Kastner 2), Bremen 1 (Pike); Turnovers: Plymouth 16, Bremen 15; Rebounds: Plymouth 35 (Knapp 7), Bremen 22 (Huppert 4, Pike 4); Steals: Plymouth 10 (Mercer 3), Bremen 5 (Hueni, Bayer, Pike, Box, Huppert); Assists: Plymouth 13 (Ruff 4), Bremen 7 (Bayer 3); Blocks: Plymouth 5 (Mercer 5), Bremen 5 (Bayer 2, Pike 2); Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 20 (none), Bremen 20 (Hueni).
Records: Plymouth 8-4, Bremen 5-7