PLYMOUTH — For the first time since 2010, Plymouth’s Pilgrims are sectional champions.
The No. 6 Pilgrims used a strong fourth quarter to turn a competitive final into a runaway Saturday, defeating South Bend St. Joe by a 74-45 final to claim the Sectional 19 title on their home court at The Rock.
“Couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “Three games in three nights — that’s tough, especially with the teams we were playing. It’s just a great team effort, Gabe (Veryvynckt) comes in and knocks down some 3s, we got plays from everybody, and what an outstanding fourth quarter. Just a great team effort”
“Awesome feeling to be with all the other seniors. This means a lot to us,” said Ike Kastner. “It’s about defense, but you can’t say enough about Gabe going 3-for-3 from the 3-point line.”
Verynckt came off the bench to nail those three shots in the game’s second quarter. Thanks to his hot hand and the play of the rest of his teammates, the Pilgrims were actually able to extend their lead while leaving Mack Mercer on the bench for much of the half in foul trouble for a second night.
“All that hard work is finally paying off. I thought our seniors did a great job stepping up,” said Joe Knapp, who had a second career night, leading the game with 20 points after capping 24 against Marian the night before. “We know when he’s down everybody has to contribute, rebounding, scoring, everything, and I think we did that.”
St. Joe’s Greenan Sullivan also got into some early foul trouble, but he returned to duel Veryvynckt in the second frame. Ryan Wobbe and Ryan Brown played big in the first half to keep the Indians close, but they could never quite get the deficit under nine.
In the fourth quarter the Pilgrims simply pulled away with Mercer returning to score nine of his 17 points and pull down five rebounds.
“We played like a team and that was great,” said Mercer. “It’s great to be able to rely on other teammates to have your back. We’re just a great team, and we play like a team and I love it.”
“This is kind of an unreal moment but at the same time we’ve kind of been prepared for this,” said senior David Lee. “We knew if we played a certain way we could get the job done. It’s all about the team.”
Sullivan ended the night with 15 points to lead St. Joe. Wobbe and Brown each had 12. Knapp’s 20 led all scorers. Lee had six assists and seven rebounds.
St. Joe ends its season at 13-10 and Plymouth (20-3) takes on West Lafayette in next week’s regional at Plymouth.
• Class 3A Sectional 19
PLYMOUTH 74, SOUTH BEND ST. JOSEPH 45
Score by Quarters
Plymouth: 20 33 49 74
St. Joe: 12 24 40 45
PLYMOUTH (74): Matt Flynn 0, Gabe Vervynckt 9, Joe Knapp 20, David Lee 11, Nick Bayley 0, Mack Mercer 17, Ike Kastner 5, Kyser McCrammer 0, Trent Briles 5, Josh Anders 2, Tom Felke 5, Scott Carmichael 0, Jack Barron 0, Reis Yoder 0; Totals: 26 11-16 74.
ST. JOE (45): Greenan Sullivan 15, Wesley Short 0, Mark Madden 0, Matthew Gergely 0, Keaton Wieschhaus 1, Matt Takach 0, Connor Edmonds 2, Matthew Monserez 3, Anthony Smiley 0, Ryan Wobbe 12, Ryan Brown 12; Totals: 16 7-12 45.
3-pointers: St. Joe 6-19 (Sullivan, Wobbe, Brown 2) Plymouth 11-17 (Vervynckt, Knapp, Mercer 3); Rebounds: St. Joe 22 (Edmonds, Wobbe 6), Plymouth 26 (Lee 7); Assists: St. Joe 10 (Edmonds 4), Plymouth 22 (Lee 6, Mercer 6); Steals: St. Joe 3 (Brown 2), Plymouth 3 (Lee 2); Turnovers: St. Joe 8, Plymouth 9; Fouls (Fouled out): St. Joe 16, Plymouth 13.
Records: St. Joe 13-10 (final), Plymouth 20-3