PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s defense held LaPorte to its second-lowest production of the season, but the Lady Pilgrims’ offensive woes proved insurmountable Tuesday.
The Pilgrims finished just 8 of 36 (22 percent) from the field — including a 1-of-8 mark in the second quarter — and converted on only 8 of 17 (47 percent) from the line in their second straight loss, a 31-25 defeat at the hands of the visiting Slicers at The Rock.
“Turnovers, we did the job with 10; of course it was a slow-paced game. You still don’t have enough firepower,” said Plymouth head coach Dave Cox. “You scored 25 points. I’ve won one game with 25 points in my career. I’ve been in over 450 games, and you’re just not going to win those.”
Plymouth held LaPorte leading scorer Jaclyn Heath nearly six points under her average at eight and limited the visitors to a 9-for-22 conversion rate from the floor for the game. LaPorte left the door open and it was still a one-possession game after Lauren Tanner’s layup on a backdoor cut and assist from Haley Harrell with 3:06 remaining in the contest, but the Slicers closed out the game 6-3 to clinch the win.
“That’s a nice offensive team, and maybe you people didn’t see it in the stands tonight, but they’re averaging 48 points a game,” said Cox. “His daughter is a nice basketball player averaging almost 14 points a game, and (Kelsey) Sule, 14 the same way, and these kids went out and they gave them eight apiece. What an awesome job and what can you say about that, but you can’t miss bunnies, shoot 3s that much and miss them… It boiled down to an offensive inability for us. But you’ve got to like our defense.”
LaPorte held off the Pilgrims largely at the line, where the Slicers hit 6 of 12 freebies in the fourth to outscore Plymouth 11-7 in the frame. The visitors found themselves in the double bonus with 1:15 still left to play and knocked down 10 of 21 foul shots as the Pilgrims were whistled for 21 fouls compared to 16 by the Slicers. Plymouth converted its freebies at a similar 47-percent rate, but took four less foul shots and hit just 3 of 11 in the first half as LaPorte grabbed a 16-10 halftime cushion.
“The telltale heart is that 47 percent from the line,” said Cox. “I don’t know how hard you have to play to overcome that, but I’m pretty sure we’re not humanly capable of playing that hard at this point as a team. We’re young and so forth, and I think we play hard, but a couple of those are one-and-ones, so you’re talking maybe out of 20, which would make the percentage even worse.”
The Pilgrims were tied with the Slicers as late as the 4:03 stop of the third as a Tanner baseline drive and layup knotted the score at 18-all, but a 5-0 run spanning from the 48-second mark of the third to the 6:17 stop of the final frame gave the Slicers a little breathing room at 23-18, all the distance they ultimately needed to salt the game away.
Tanner finished with six points, while Amber Redinger put up seven points with a game-high nine rebounds, and Hunter Stevens finished with six points after an 18-point outing against Elkhart Memorial Saturday.
The Pilgrims’ offense was less inept than it was inconsistent at the LaPorte contest, which featured two ties and two lead changes.
Stevens’ floor time was limited to 10:08 in and out of foul trouble at the game, Tanner’s six points all came in the second half, and Harrell was silent on offense in the second half after putting up four in the first half for Plymouth.
“Maybe that’s where we’re at right now; we’re really inconsistent. We get something out of somebody right here, and the rest of the game we don’t get that. That’s what we’re still working on,” said Cox.
While LaPorte improves to 9-5, the Pilgrims slide to 3-11 with Tuesday’s result. Plymouth hits the road for Concord Saturday, then takes a week off before traveling to Wawasee the following Saturday, Jan. 21 for back-to-back Northern Lakes Conference games.
“We’re a month away from sectional,” said Cox. “We go into conference now for two in a row. We’ve got Concord Saturday and then we’ve got a week off and we’ve got Wawasee, and boy, both of those games are definitely winnable games for us. We need to do things to try and get a win there because… I thought tonight would be hard, but I thought we could pull this one out. As it turned out it was a very winnable game.”
• LAPORTE 31, PLYMOUTH 25
Score by quarters
LaPorte: 10 16 20 31
Plymouth: 7 10 18 25
LAPORTE (31): Maddie Voelker 0 5-8 5, Kelsey Sule 3 0-0 8, Mariah East 0 0-0 0, Jaclyn Heath 2 3-8 8, Taylor Thompson 1 0-2 2, Delanie Alcorn 1 0-1 2, Kelsey Gushrowski 2 2-2 6; Totals: 9 10-21 31.
PLYMOUTH (25): Lauren Tanner 3 0-3 6, Marissa German 0 0-0 0, Carly BAker 0 2-2 2, Haley Harrell 1 1-2 4, Brittany Himes 0 0-2 0, Savannah Mae 0 0-0 0, Amber Redinger 3 1-2 7, Victoria Dewar 0 0-0 0, Hunter Stevens 1 4-6 6, Allie Wright 0 0-0 0; Totals: 8 8-17 25.
3-point goals: LaPorte 3 (Sule 2, Heath), Plymouth 1 (Harrell); Turnovers: LaPorte 15, Plymouth 10; Rebounds: LaPorte 27 (Voelker 6, Gushrowski 6), Plymouth 26 (Redinger 9); Steals: LaPorte 2 (Sule, Gushrowski), Plymouth 7 (Tanner 2, Baker 2); Assists: LaPorte 7 (Heath 4), Plymouth 5 (Tanner 2, Harrell 2); Fouls (fouled out): LaPorte 16 (none), Plymouth 21 (none).
Records: Plymouth 3-11, LaPorte 9-5
JV score: Plymouth 30 (Kaydon Fosler 9, Dylan Holliday 8), LaPorte 6 (Caroline Boger 2, Bailey Rogers 2, Kaela Stence 2).