PLYMOUTH — Plymouth hung tough with LaPorte for a half, but the Slicers turned it up after the break.
The Pilgrims held a slight, 25-23 advantage over the visitors at halftime, but they were outscored 17-9 in the third quarter on their way to a 54-56 nonconference loss at The Rock Saturday.
“I thought LaPorte really stepped up their play that second half,” said Plymouth head coach Kevin Stuckmeyer. “I don’t know if they were a little bit hungrier than us, but they made some plays at both ends and seemed to maybe beat us to some 50-50 balls and just made some plays that we probably needed to make to keep the score where it was. But we didn’t do that so they made a little bit of a run and made some shots, and they were able to gap us a little bit there.”
Plymouth saw two players in double figures in the loss — senior point guard Houston Hodges, who finished with 10 points, and 6-7 freshman Mack Mercer who led the team with 13 points in his second straight outing in double digits.
“I thought Mack had a tremendous weekend,” Stuckmeyer said. “He played really well at Concord the night before in a difficult conference game on the road, and he followed it up with a very good performance for us Saturday. He just gives us that added presence down low to score, and you can sense that he’s grown up a little bit and gotten more comfortable at the varsity level just when he catches it down low. He’s able to stay patient and get the ball up on the backboard when he needs to. That’s been a big lift for us, and hopefully, he can continue that.”
Plymouth slides to 3-9 after Saturday’s decision and a Northern Lakes Conference win Friday at Concord. The Pilgrims will resume NLC play Friday at Wawasee. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
“It’ll be important for us to have a good week of practice and have the proper mindset to go into a difficult environment and a difficult conference game at Wawasee,” Stuckmeyer said. “It’ll be important for us to focus in on what we have to do and have that mindset to do what we need to do to play at that high level.”
• LAPORTE 54, PLYMOUTH 46
Score by quarters
LaPorte: 14 23 40 54
Plymouth: 13 25 34 46
LAPORTE (54): Austin Alcorn 10, Ryan Basinger 8, Emmerson Cooper 0, Jacob Craft 12, Josh Fleming 16, Tim Sharp 2, James Snyder 2, Scott Vaughn 4, Chris Webb 0. TOTALS: 18 14-16 54.
PLYMOUTH (46): Houston Hodges 10, Kyle Kaser 7, Ike Kastner 0, Kyser McCrammer 2, Ryan McNeil 9, John Ruff 0, Mack Mercer 13, Gabe Vervynckt 0, Joe Knapp 2, Sean Smith 3. TOTALS: 12 17-23 46.
3-point goals: LaPorte 4 (Fleming 2, Basinger), Plymouth 5 (McNeil 3, Hodges, Kaser). Total fouls (fouled out): LaPorte 21 (AlcorIn, Vaughn), Plymouth 20 (Smith); Records: LaPorte 4-8, Plymouth 3-9.
JV score: Plymouth 32, LaPorte 29.