CULVER — Jermaine Myers surpassed the 1,000-point mark, and he gave his team a big lift along the way.
Myers scored 24 points on red-hot shooting while dishing out six assists off the dribble and racking up a team-high six rebounds, and the 6-1 Culver Military Academy junior from Ontario, Canada moved to 1,016 career points as the Eagles claimed a 46-36 victory over Plymouth at home Tuesday.
Myers is third on the boys basketball scoring list behind Jackson Atoyebi’s 1,431 and Mitch Henderso’s 1,284 and fourth on the Academies career scoring list as Culver Girls Academy’s Patricia Babcock, Miss Basketball in 1990, owns the all-time career scoring record at 2,199 points.
“People don’t realize how good a player he is,” said CMA head basketball coach Mark Galloway. “He’s scoring with the ball, but his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2 to 1... He rebounds the ball well. He’s definitely a stat-stuffer. To pass 1,000 points as a junior, that’s impressive. He’s a very nice player, very valuable to us, but most of all, he’s a great teammate, very unselfish.”
Plymouth won the second half, outscoring CMA 16-9 in the third frame and 30-19 in the half, but the Pilgrims couldn’t rally back from a back-breaking 17-1 second quarter in the loss.
The Eagles held Plymouth to 0 for 7 from the field while connecting at a 7-for-11 clip themselves in the decisive second quarter, stretching a five-point lead after one period to a 27-6 advantage at the intermission.
“We shot 61 percent in the first half, and we felt like we were going to be able to score the entire game, but can we get stops,” said Galloway. “The way it’s going to be in the tournament. You have to play good team defense, and I thought in that second quarter we were really good with our team defense. If someone did beat us we were there to help. We rotated, we covered things up, we had great ball pressure. We didn’t let them get comfortable; they were not comfortable in that second quarter.”
“We had difficulty scoring,” said Plymouth head coach Kevin Stuckmeyer. ”We didn’t get great shots, we didn’t catch and rip through. Just passing, catching, shooting, all those sorts of things just got away from us that second quarter, and when they get high-percentage shots you put both of those together, and they’re going to go on a run and put a distance.”
Rather than pack it in, the Pilgrims hit the floor running in the second half with a 12-3 run spanning 3:35 of the third period as Sean Smith buried a pair of free throws at the 5:03 mark of the third to spark the spurt, and Houston Hodges logged a steal and an assist to Kyser McCrammer for a breakaway layup to close out the run and bring Plymouth within 10 points at 32-22.
The Pilgrims opened the final stanza with a 12-6 run to pull within eight points, 42-34 on a Sean Smith triple from the wing with 2:35 left in the game, but they never got any closer as CMA finished them off with a Myers transition layup breaking Plymouth’s man-to-man press and good-enough 2-of-5 free throw shooting.
“It’s encouraging,” said Stuckmeyer. “I talked to them in the locker room. That’s a high-character moment from those kids with a very difficult first half coming off a very difficult game. The way they responded after halftime, they just competed and took care of things and you could see them doing some of the things that we’ve talked about all year at that defensive end and it really paid off for them.
“You can build off that, and I’m very pleased with the way they responded and the character they showed with that.”
“Exactly what we did not want to happen, happened,” said Galloway. “We lost our defensive intensity, we lost our discipline. We left our feet... But it’s hard for kids to stay disciplined and be solid defensively (with a 20-point lead). I thought they came out and played with more defensive intensity and a little more physical.
“It’s always better to learn from a win than a loss, and we’ll learn from this.”
Juwan Brescacin, a native of Ontario along with Myers, finished with 16 points for CMA, while Plymouth was led by freshman Mack Mercer’s 11 points for the night. The Eagles improve to 11-6 on the year, while Plymouth slips to 5-13 with its third straight loss, a tough stretch which includes a defeat to Class 4A, No. 8 Warsaw last week.
“It’s great preparation,” Stuckmeyer said. “It gives us a measuring stick of where we’re at and shows us if we play like we did that second half we’ll have a shot at it, and if we don’t put four quarters together it’ll be a very uphill climb for us with not much room for error to get over that hump.”
• CULVER MILITARY 46,
Score by quarters
Plymouth: 5 6 22 36
CMA: 10 27 36 46
PLYMOUTH (36): Houston Hodges 3 2-3 8, Mitch Holloway 0 0-0 0, Kyle Kaser 0 0-0 0, Joe Knapp 0 0-0 0, Kyser McCrammer 1 0-0 2, Ryan McNeil 0 0-0 0, Mack Mercer 4 3-4 11, John Ruff 0 0-0 0, Brock Smith 2 0-0 6, Sean Smith 31 2-2 9; Totals: 13 7-9 36.
CMA (46): Jermaine Myers 9 3-6 24, Hayes Barnes 0 0-0 0, Eljay Murray 0 0-0 0, Aramonti Phillips 0 0-0 0, Juwan Brescacin 6 4-9 16, Alex Dodane 0 0-0 0, Chier Ajou 1 0-0 2, Willie Strong 2 0-0 4; Totals: 18 7-15 46.
3-point goals: Plymouth 3 (B. Smith 2, S. Smith 1), CMA 3 (Myers 3); Turnovers: Plymouth 7, CMA 10; Rebounds: Plymouth 24 (Hodges 5), CMA 27 (Myers 6); Assists: Plymouth 5 (Hodges 3), CMA 10 (Myers 6); Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 15 (Hodges), CMA 13 (none). Records: Plymouth 5-13, CMA 11-6.
JV score: Plymouth 32 (Connor Flynn 13), CMA 25 (David Dilts 9).