Pilgrims fall short at Memorial

ELKHART — Plymouth arrived at historic North Side Gymnasium with high hopes of breaking into the Northern Lakes Conference win column, and for most of three quarters, the Pilgrims’ goal was well within reach.
But Elkhart Memorial used a 22-12 fourth quarter to surge past Plymouth’s grasp in a 60-46 win over the Pilgrims in Elkhart Friday night.
According to head coach Ryan Bales, the Devil was in the details.
“It’s frustrating that it’s little things: our close outs, a guy gets a 3 and our hands are down, we’re not running them out — we talked about running them off the line, and I didn’t see it — there were a couple times that they’d drive to the basket and we’re hiding behind the guy that they’re passing to and so we’re either forced to foul or we’re watching them shoot a layup,” said Bales. “Going into the game, we felt like having one day to prepare it was a mental toughness game. I thought we came out and had a good start to the game… It just didn’t last for 32 minutes.”
After the holiday layover and without the benefit of practice the first three days of the week due to snow closures, both teams got off to a slow start, combining for a 5-of-20 clip from the floor in the first quarter, but it was Plymouth that led by a narrow 7-6 margin at the first quarter break.
Memorial tied it up on a corner triple from Jon Bailey with 54 seconds to go in the first half, and the two teams were knotted in a 21-21 tie at the intermission.
They swapped leads seven times over a back-and-forth third quarter, but Memorial closed it out on a 6-1 run to take a narrow 38-34 lead into the final frame. After that, the Chargers got hot, converting 7-of-9 shots in the final period to salt away their second straight victory while denying Plymouth its first back-to-back wins of the season.
The Pilgrims’ inability to close was an all-too-familiar theme after a 56-55 NLC loss at NorthWood back on Dec. 20.
“We just did not respond once they got hot until it was too late. It’s disappointing that we came up here expecting to win and we walk away not putting together a 32-minute game against these guys, and that’s why they were able to come out with a win. They came out and executed better in the second half than what we did.”
Still out 6-9 Belmont University signee Mack Mercer as well as 6-4 sophomore forward Josh Anders, the Pilgrims relied heavily on senior guard Tom Felke for their offense, and the 5-11 backcourter put up a game-high 20 points. But the visitors got little other meaningful points production and in the end, Felke’s 20 wasn’t enough to counter a combined 25 points from Memorial’s Dmitri Giger and Cameron Maxwell and a balanced Chargers scoresheet that saw nine players put up points in the win, which pushed them out to 4-4 overall and a 2-0 NLC mark.
“I thought they played very unselfishly so give them a lot of credit,” Bales said. “From our standpoint, it’s a fine line of we had to have balance, and we had to have other guys willing to step up and shoot the basketball and we need other guys that are willing to drive and take it to the hoop. If it’s one-on-three or one-on-two that means someone’s open, and I didn’t think we did a very good job tonight of seeing those opportunities.”
Behind Tom Felke’s 20, freshman brother Nick Felke finished with eight points, while Scott Carmichael put up six, Jack Barron finished with four, and Trent Briles notched three points to go with a team-best seven rebounds. The Pilgrims slid to an even 4-4 alongside Memorial but dropped to an 0-2 start in the NLC.
They’ll have little time to rebound as they travel to Tippecanoe Valley for a non-conference road contest tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“The’ve got some nice pieces,” said Bales of the Vikings. “They run their stuff and execute very well, and they’re going to play… a 1-3-1 similar to what we saw at times tonight. Maybe not as aggressive, but they’re very smart. They’re well-coached — (Bill Patrick) has done it for awhile, and he really is a coach that’s adjusted well to every team he’s coached, I think. They’re always competitive, they’re always tough, especially at home, and we’re just going to have to come down and find out a little bit about ourselves and how we’re going to respond.”
At Elkhart
Plymouth: 7 21 34 46
Memorial: 6 21 38 60
PLYMOUTH (46): Matt Flynn 0 2-2 2, Jack Barron 1 2-2 4, Cam Eveland 0 0-0 0, Nick Felke 3 0-0 8, Nick Bayley 0 0-0 0, Trent Briles 1 0-0 3, Tom Felke 7 4-8 20, Scott Carmichael 2 1-1 6, Tyler England 1 1-2 3; Totals: 15 10-15 46.
MEMORIAL (60): Dmitri Giger 6 2-4 14, Cameron Maxwell 4 0-0 11, Austin Miller 2 2-2 6, Darrius Baker 0 2-3 2, A.J. Gary 3 2-2 9, Mikal McGuire 1 0-0 2, Jon Bailey 2 0-0 6, Rashad Murphy 0 0-0 0, Michael O’Toole 2 4-4 8, Chris Kale 1 0-0 2; Totals: 21 12-15 60.
3-pointers: Plymouth 6 (N. Felke 2, T. Felke 2, Briles, Carmichael), Memorial 6 (Maxwell 3, Bailey 2, A.J. Gary); Rebounds: Plymouth 19 (Briles 7), Memorial 30 (Giger 7); Steals: Plymouth 7 (Barron 2, Briles 2), Memorial 6 (Giger 4); Assists: Plymouth 11 (T. Felke 3, N. Felke 3), Memorial 13 (Giger 5); Turnovers: Plymouth 13, Memorial 19; Fouls (fouled out): Plymouth 14 (none), Memorial 17 (none).
Records: Plymouth 4-4 (0-2 NLC), Memorial 4-4 (2-0 NLC)