WALKERTON — Some of the John Glenn teams of the past might have been rattled seeing Plymouth walk into their gym, but not this one.
Even when the Lady Pilgrims threatened down the stretch, Glenn’s girls kept their composure.
A steal and a layup by Katie Dreessen gave the Falcons their final lead of the night with 2:07 left to play. Natalie Shetler buried a 3-pointer from the corner on a Carah Ochs inbounds pass at the 1:32 stop of the final frame to push the advantage to four, and Glenn held off Plymouth down the stretch to win its seventh straight, 41-39 in a thriller between Sectional 19 rivals at home at The Aerie Tuesday.
“You come in with six in a row, and these girls — I really don’t feel it’s overconfident — they feel like they can beat anybody we play, and that’s the kind of mentality you want,” said Glenn girls basketball coach Kyle Amor. “Whether it’s against a Plymouth, who honestly I think some teams in the past when they see Plymouth walk into the gym they automatically assume this is going to be tough… These girls before the game I think they were confident. They felt like they could beat them from the start.”
That confidence going in translated into a strong start for the Falcons, who jumped out to a double-digit lead at the half.
Glenn finished at an 8-of-15 field clip in the first half while Plymouth got off to a 5-for-25 start from the floor, and the result was a 25-13 halftime lead by the home team.
It was the third straight game the Pilgrims have scuffled to a slow start, and it wound up costing the formerly 10th-ranked team its third consecutive loss.
“First off, let me say I think Kyle’s done a good job with this program. His kids I think are well coached. His guard play is good, his bigs are doing a good job,” said Plymouth coach Dave Duncan. “We have not started well three games in a row now. Our shot selection was not good the first half, and that’s what we talked about coming in.
“In the Warsaw game we shot 19 percent in the first half; this game we shot 20 percent in the first half. I told the girls we are not that type of team that can do that. We have to come down and we have to make better shot selection and we have to get the ball to certain kids. We didn’t do that in the first half.”
After the intermission, the Pilgrims cranked up the defensive tempo to claw their way back in the game.
The visitors created six Glenn turnovers and limited the Falcons to just two points on 1-of-5 shooting to cut their deficit down to two at 27-25 going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter featured a pair of ties and four lead changes, the final one on Dreessen’s steal and transition layup with a little over two minutes left to play. Trailing by five, Lauren Tanner gave the Pilgrims one last gasp when she banked in a 3 on an inbounds lob to the opposite wing with 3.8 seconds to play, but the Falcons got the ensuing inbounds pass into Dreessen’s hands, the senior forward raced down the floor out of the reach of Plymouth’s defenders to run out the final seconds, and the buzzer sounded on Glenn’s seventh straight win.
“We talked about changing the intensity level on defense. I thought we did that in the third quarter and kind of got us back in the game a little bit, but then we just didn’t figure out ways to take care of the basketball down the stretch,” said Duncan. “We had a one-point lead with about three minutes to go. We had a turnover… and they went down and scored a layup, and from that point on I thought we did not handle the rest of the game very well. We need to go back to the gym tomorrow night and put ourselves in that type of a situation. We need to experience that again.”
“I know we’ve got young guards, but a year ago we lost five or six games by one point, two points,” said Amor. “I told the girls, hey, we’re used to this. This is an experienced young group. We’ve been in that situation many times. Now because of that year of experience we just respond and are able to handle it. They’re not as jittery in those situations.”
Glenn was led by Shetler’s 12 points, while Ochs finished with nine, but the Falcons saw solid role playing from throughout their lineup.
Dreessen finished with five points, three steals and four rebounds, while forwards Loren Vukovits and Hannah Strange put up five and four points, respectively, and Kyler Columbia dished out four assists while being limited to five points by the Pilgrims.
“I thought our shot selection was pretty good. I have three or four kids any night of the week that can really light it up,” Amor said. “Tonight I think Natalie was feeling it a little bit, Ochs started to a little bit, and our post presence, they’re not just block to block, they can make that 10-, 15-footer. We’re a scary team to scout because you don’t know who’s going to lead us. We’ve had someone different about every night.
“We’ve got people that can fill. I have seven, eight players from last year that play a certain role, and they’re figuring out their roles very well.”
Plymouth was paced in scoring a second straight game by Haley Harrell, who finished with 13 points to go with four steals and five rebounds. Amber Redinger scored 10 with six rebounds, Lauren Tanner finished with seven points, five rebounds and two assists, and Andria Shook put up five points with three rebounds and an assist playing long stretches in the absence of usual Plymouth starting forward Hunter Stevens.
Allie Wright finished with four points while spearheading the Pilgrims’ defense, and Kaydon Fosler gave her team a lift on the defensive end as well.
“I just think Haley’s been kind of coming on steadily the whole year. I think as a point guard sometimes you think of her as a playmaker, but she has the ability to make plays with the ball. She’s a pretty special kid. Andria came in and she hasn’t been feeling well, and she played a ton of minutes for us and did a nice job tonight, had a couple nice stops and a couple putbacks through the course of the game. Amber got bodied a lot, and it was kind of tough for her to put the ball in the basket, but she had a good game,” Duncan said.
“I thought Allie did a great job, too. In the second half we talked about turning our defensive intensity up, and she got a couple baskets off some steals. She was all over the place on defense… and the same with Kaydon. Kaydon’s length out there, she makes people make bad decisions with the basketball. I thought those two kids really helped us out on the defensive end.”
Plymouth slips to 6-3 with its third straight loss after starting the season at 6-0. The Pilgrims travel to Class 3A No. 7 NorthWood for a Northern Lakes Conference contest this Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
Glenn improves to 7-1 with its seventh straight win after opening the season with a loss at Argos. The Falcons host Northern State Conference foe LaVille in the first game of a boys/ girls doubleheader Saturday at 6 p.m.
“The first loss to Argos we felt like we had that one. That was a devastating loss,” Amor said. “In the locker room at the end you would’ve thought they lost the state championship. That very next practice it’s been my message all season long to respond, and they have responded. They don’t like that feeling. They’ve had it too much in the last couple years. They hate it, and they’re going to do everything possible to never feel that again.”
• JOHN GLENN 41,
Score by quarters
Plymouth: 8 13 25 39
Glenn: 11 25 27 41
PLYMOUTH (39): Lauren Tanner 7, Andria Shook 5, Kaydon Fosler 0, Haley Harrell 13, Allie Wright 4, Amber Redinger 10, Shannon Stephenson 0; Totals: 15 8-11 39.
GLENN (41): Carah Ochs 9, Kyler Columbia 5, Dillyn Schleg 1, Natalie Shetler 12, Katie Dreessen 5, Hannah Strange 4, Loren Vukovits 5; Totals: 12 13-19 41.
3-pointers: Plymouth 1 (Tanner), Glenn 4 (Ochs 2, Shetler 2); Rebounds: Plymouth 25 (Redinger 6, Tanner 5, Harrell 5), Glenn 18 (Dreessen 4); Turnovers: Plymouth 13, Glenn 18; Steals: Plymouth 11 (Harrell 4), Glenn 5 (Dreessen 3); Assists: Plymouth 6 (Tanner 2), Glenn 9 (Columbia 4); Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 21 (Fosler, Redinger), Glenn 14 (none).
Records: Plymouth 6-3, Glenn 7-1
JV score: Glenn 25, Plymouth 13