Plymouth moves to 2-0 vs Rochester

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth turned up the tempo in the third quarter, and the Pilgrims ran away with the win in a 47-26 victory over Rochester Friday.
An 11-8 second quarter by the Zebras knotted the score at 15-all at the half, but Plymouth cranked up its intensity on the defensive end while showing greater patience in the offensive halfcourt to outscore the visitors 18-3 in the third frame and take a 34-18 advantage into the fourth period. The Pilgrims gapped the Zebras by 20 with 4:44 to go and coasted to the win at home at The Rock.
“Finally we started running an offense, and I thought we showed a little more patience on the offensive end,” said Plymouth Head Boys Basketball Coach Ryan Bales of the third quarter. “It felt like we were trying to take the first open shot, and that’s not necessarily a good thing when you’re not hitting. But I give a lot of credit to our defense. I think it changed the complexion of the game. Finally we started rotating and making some plays, getting some touches and forcing them into some turnovers.”
The Pilgrims’ (2-0) full court press and swarming halfcourt D forced 14 second-half turnovers from Rochester (0-2) — the Zebras recorded a total of 24 at the game — and converted those miscues into nine points after capitalizing with just two points off 10 turnovers in the first half.
With 6-9 sophomore center Mack Mercer patrolling the paint against the 2-3 Rochester zone, the Plymouth offense connected at 12 of 22 shots after the break following a rocky 6-for-24 performance in the first half.
“We wanted Mercer to move a little bit more. It felt like he was stuck in that one side a lot in the first half, and we encouraged him to move and use the whole paint and get underneath that zone,” said Bales of his team’s offensive adjustments in the second half. “A lot of that was due to Rochester, man. They packed it in, they did a great job on him, but I didn’t think our guys showed a whole lot of patience looking inside. We got a little antsy with the ball, I think. We got it in the high post a couple times, which is what we wanted against a zone, and then we dribbled into trouble. I think it was just an adjustment of playing a little more controlled and playing a little stronger inside and finishing.”
“It feels great,” said Mercer. “Especially when we’re doing well as a team, getting it around and hitting 3s and getting shots up like that. It really makes my job a lot easier.”
Mercer finished with 18 points earned at an efficient 8-for-11 rate, while senior guard/ forward Ryan McNeil knocked down a pair of treys en route to nine points, and junior point guard David Lee finished with eight points and game-highs of five steals and nine rebounds as the Pilgrims outboarded Rochester 32-24.
Kyser McCrammer recorded three assists, while Joe Knapp, Connor Flynn and Gabe Vervynckt all added valuable minutes off the bench to help Plymouth to its 2-0 start.
“We stuck with things. Some of the guys that didn’t play a whole lot the first game, Joe Knapp, Gabe Vervynckt I thought gave us great minutes,” said Bales. “Connor Flynn, he comes in, the first thing he does is take a charge. We had some guys step up and when their name was called, they did what they needed to do.”
Rochester was led by six points from senior guard Andrew Riddle and five rebounds each from Zac Schoen and Jonathon O’Dell.
Plymouth puts its unbeaten record on the line next Tuesday at South Bend St. Joseph’s. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
At Plymouth
Score by quarters
Plymouth: 7 15 34 47
Rochester: 4 15 18 27
ROCHESTER (26): Aaron Stuart 1 0-1 3, Sheldon Albright 1 0-0 3, Carter Screeton 2 1-2 5, Jonathon O’Dell 1 0-0 3, Luke Cannedy 0 0-0 0, Zac Schoen 1 0-0 2, Andrew Riddle 2 1-2 6, Seth Corn 1 2-2 4; Totals: 9 4-7 26.
PLYMOUTH (47): Ryan McNeil 3 0-0 9, Gabe Vervynckt 0 0-0 0, Joe Knapp 1 1-2 4, David Lee 3 1-2 8, Connor Flynn 1 0-1 2, Mack Mercer 8 2-4 18, Ike Kastner 0 0-0 0, Keyser McCrammer 0 0-0 0, John Ruff 1 2-2 4, Kyle Kaser 1 0-1 2, Tom Felke 0 0-0 0, Hayden Skirvin 0 0-2 0; Totals: 18 6-14 47.
3-pointers: Rochester 4 (Stuart 1, Albright 1, O’Dell 1, Riddle 1), Plymouth 5 (McNeil 3, Knapp 1, Lee 1); Turnovers: Rochester 24, Plymouth 14; Rebounds: Rochester 24 (O’Dell 5, Schoen 5), Plymouth 32 (Lee 9); Assists: Rochester 4 (O’Dell 2), Plymouth 12 (McCrammer 3); Steals: Rochester 6 (O’Dell 2, Corn 2), Plymouth 13 (Lee 5); Fouls (fouled out): Rochester 16 (none), Plymouth 17 (none).
Records: Plymouth 2-0, Rochester 0-2
JV score: Plymouth 34 (Nick Bayley 12, Matt Flynn 10), Rochester 26 (Alec Gehrich 7)