Pilgrims escape Glenn with win

WALKERTON — It was only a matter of time before the Falcons made their run.
The trouble for Glenn was, when it came, it came too late.
Plymouth built a 28-12 halftime lead then held on during a furious second-half rally by the hosts for a 62-58 win over the Falcons in a Senior Night spoiler at The Aerie in Walkerton Tuesday night.
“Our first half was just bad. I’ll give them credit, their defensive pressure just took us out of everything offensively,” said Glenn head coach Travis Hannah. “We couldn’t get in anything, we couldn’t find shots, I thought we panicked a little bit. The first half was kind of what did us in.”
“Give John Glenn a lot of credit. Coach Hannah, at halftime, I’m sure he went in and he’s not going to quit, his kids aren’t going to quit,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “They pounced on their opportunity and obviously made a game out of it.”
Glenn knocked down 11-of-21 3-point shots during their second half rally from being down double digits at the half.
The rally included some late-game heroics by Tyler Prentkowski, who scored 17 of his team-best 20 points after the intermission. His steal and pull-up triple from the wing with 36 seconds left to play cut Plymouth’s lead to two at 57-55, but Jack Barron and Tom Felke both converted free throws in the double bonus to stretch the advantage back out to 61-55.
Drew McDonald pulled up on the opposite wing for another 3 to cut Glenn’s deficit back to one possession at 61-58, but Nick Felke split a pair of charity tosses on the other end to seal the game with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
“Our defensive pressure picked up in the second half. I thought we were able to get some transition baskets and some easier looks because of transition,” Hannah said. “It was just a little too little, too late. But our kids battled; that’s a good sign.”
“I think a lot of it was our carelessness on offense,” echoed Bales of Glenn’s second-half rally. “Just uncharacteristic turnovers that our guys don’t normally make, but for whatever reason we just got caught up in the moment I think. Again, it just goes to show you what one mental mistake can do for a team to gain momentum.”
The loss snapped a nine-game win streak by the Falcons that included a Northern State Conference-clinching victory at New Prairie last Friday.
The streak was even more remarkable considering Hannah said his team hasn’t even been playing its best basketball.
“The difference is, I’ve said this for the last four weeks, is we haven’t played our best basketball and still found ways to win,” said Hannah. “Tonight we dug ourselves a hole and we almost found a way to win. I’m encouraged because that was not our best effort by any stretch of the imagination, and we haven’t played well and we’re still waiting to put 32 minutes together. When you head into tournament time you hope that you’re building towards it, and I thought the second half tonight was a step.”
The victory was Plymouth’s third straight, meanwhile, and the Pilgrims’ fifth win in their last six games. They finally seem to be finding their stride at the tail end of a season in which injuries hurt them early.
“It’s easy in a game like this to lose focus, to focus on a crowd, to focus on their winning streak, to focus on their Senior Night and all the festivities that they have going on. It’s always a great place to play. It’s tough for an opposing team to come in here and get a win because of all the different things that they bring… It’s a great game for us to play at the end of the season. It was great to come over here and get a win.”
While Prentkowski scored a game-high 20 to lead the Falcons, McDonald finished with 13, and Jake Strong scored 11 with three steals and two assists in the loss, which dropped Glenn to 11-6.
Plymouth was led by Mack Mercer’s 17 points highlighted by four dunks to go with 10 rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks. Tom Felke scored 13, and Josh Anders finished with 11 in the win, which pushed Plymouth out to a notch under .500 at 9-10.
The Falcons travel to Penn Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“We get to got to the Palace and play Penn so it’ll be another good test for us. A very good basketball team, I think that goes without saying, and it gives us an opportunity to work on the things that we need to work on to get into that sectional atmosphere,” said Hannah.
“Our kids are capable, our kids believe they can win; it’s just a matter of coming out and performing a little bit better than what we did tonight.”
Plymouth hosts Wawasee Thursday in an NLC closer slated for 7:45 p.m.
“The big thing is it’s our last opportunity to play at home,” said Bales. “I would sure hope that we’re going to get ready to go and be fired up to get a big win for us. Right now it’s about refining and improving, and for the most part tonight I thought we showed some great things and some things that we can improve off of.”
At Walkerton
Plymouth: 12 28 42 62
Glenn: 8 13 34 58
PLYMOUTH (62): Matt Flynn 2, Jack Barron 4, Nick Felke 8, Nick Bayley 0, Mack Mercer 17, Reis Yoder 3, Trent Briles 4, Josh Anders 11, Tom Felke 13; Totals: 20 19-23 62.
GLENN (58): Austen Hayes 5, Drew McDonald 13, Tyler Prentkowski 20, Jake Strong 11, Michael Schmeltz 0, Calvin Kretchmer 6, Alec Runyan 3; Totals: 19 7-10 58.
3-pointers: Plymouth 3 (T. Felke, Yoder, N. Felke), Glenn 13 (Prentkowski 6, McDonald 3, Kretchmer 2, Hayes); Rebounds: Plymouth 21 (Mercer 10), Glenn 14 (Prentkowski 4); Turnovers: Plymouth 14, Glenn 11; Steals: Plymouth 10 (Mercer 3), Glenn 9 (Strong 3); Assists: Plymouth 11 (Briles 3, T. Felke 3), Glenn 8 (Runyan 3); Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 13 (none), Glenn 20 (McDonald).
Records: Plymouth 9-10, Glenn 11-6
JV score: Plymouth 50, Glenn 37