PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s Pilgrims once again proved that there is order in chaos as they ended their regular season with a 64-35 win over John Glenn at home Tuesday night.
Glenn played a masterful first half, responding cooly to Plymouth’s trademark pressure and forcing the Pilgrims to play a halfcourt game that is not their forte. There was no lack of Plymouth effort, but it was Glenn taking advantage of nearly every opportunity.
“Glenn came out fighting like we told (our players) they would, and they outplayed us the first half. I thought Glenn outplayed us and outworked us,” said Plymouth Coach Ryan Bales. “They came out and played that zone, and we weren’t cutting hard and demanding the ball. We were getting bumped around and playing soft.
“Our goal on defense is to bump them to the point that we want them to play soft. Glenn the first half didn’t flinch. They were bumping us around, and our guards were getting the ball outside the volleyball lines 30 feet away, our big guys were cutting through the lane, really without a purpose and catching at the 3-point line.”
As unsatisfied as Bales was with his team’s first half execution, Glenn coach Travis Hannah was pleased with his.
“It was the tale of two halves really. I thought we executed very well defensively in the first half,” said Hannah. “We doubled (Mack) Mercer in the short corner, they’d try to dive guys and we took them away. They missed some shots and that helped. The pace of the game is what we have to have right now. We don’t have the scoring ability to get in a high-flying game.”
It was certainly not high-flying but Plymouth clung to a 20-15 lead headed into the locker room at halftime.
The Pilgrims returned to “chaos” on defense in the third quarter — overpursuing, trapping, challenging every pass, every shot, every thing — and began forcing the errors that drive their transition offense. Each loose ball looked more like a rugby scrum in the second half, but that disorder is exactly the plan. The Pilgrims shot layups to start to stretch the lead.
“I like to let these guys take the responsibility and keep them accountable,” said Bales of his halftime speech. “(Before the game) We put words like ‘passion’ on the board and ‘energy’ and things like that we expect them to take the court with them. Unfortunately they didn’t do that tonight so at halftime I had to go in and show a little passion and show them what that looked like. All I did was let them know and they came out and responded.
“Our kids came out and played the second half the way I thought they could. I’m proud of our seniors the way they finished that game. They are a great group to coach. It’s a great regular season and hopefully there are many more games to go.”
“Second half we just didn’t knock down shots,” said Hannah. “And we couldn’t defend them. I felt we did a great job on Mercer tonight (10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 blocks) but Kastner came out and hit a couple 3s and their perimeter game — we got lost too many times defensively.
“We talk about defending and rebounding and if you can do that you’re going to have a good chance. First half we did that,” said Hannah. “Second half it wasn’t a matter of rebounding as much because there wasn’t a whole lot there to rebound. Most of them were coming through the net. It was positive because we can build on that. We got off to a slow start this year and have played better here of late. This game was kind of indicative of that.”
Plymouth ends the year at 17-3 and takes on Jimtown next Wednesday in the first round of the Plymouth Sectional with a game time of 7:30 p.m. Glenn is now 8-12 with a game against Penn on Friday.
• PLYMOUTH 64,
JOHN GLENN 35
Score by Quarters
Plymouth: 11 20 47 64
Glenn: 8 15 25 35
PLYMOUTH (64): Matt Flynn 1, Gabe Vervynckt 6, Joe Knapp 11, David Lee 10, Mack Mercer 10, Ike Kastner 9, Kyser McCrammer 2, Trent Briles 5, Josh Anders 2, Tom Felke 7, Tyler England 2; Totals 24 9-12 64.
GLENN (35): Tyler Prentkowski 3, Austen Hayes 7, Drew McDonald 8, Jacob Strong 4, Calvin Kretchmer 0, Nathan Stegemiller 9, Levi Schleg 4, Donald O’Connor 0; Totals 14 2-4 35.
3-pointers: Plymouth 8 (Vervynckt 2, Kastner 2), Glenn 5 (Stegemiller 3); Rebounds: Plymouth 23 (McCrammer, Mercer 6), Glenn 15 (Strong 7); Turnovers: Plymouth 9, Glenn 18; Assists: Plymouth 9 (Mercer 3), Glenn 6 (Prentkowski 2); Steals: Plymouth 10 (Vervynckt 3), Glenn 4 (Prentkowski 2); Fouls (Fouled out): Plymouth 6, Glenn 12.
JV score: Plymouth 39, Glenn 37