Plymouth loses NLC opener with Warsaw

PLYMOUTH — For the second straight game, manageable halftime deficits turned rapidly into insurmountable ones, and the Lady Pilgrims lost their Northern Lakes Conference opener 47-30 to the visiting Tigers at home Saturday.
Plymouth opened the second half on a 4-0 mini run to cut Warsaw’s lead to 19-17 at the 6:35 mark of the third, but the Tigers closed out the frame 14-5 to take a double-digit, 33-22 lead into the final stanza. Seven straight turnovers at the start of the fourth led to 11 unanswered Warsaw points, and the Pilgrims lost their sixth straight.
“The first half, they played a 1-3-1 zone, and I thought all the girls — (Carly) Baker and (Marissa) German and (Lauren) Tanner and (Amber) Redinger and (Haley) Harrell — did a really good job in the first half. And then at halftime I’m sure they talked about trapping, and they know what’s going on now,” said Plymouth Head Girls Basketball Coach Dave Cox. “It’s the second game where at halftime we’ve been OK, down two or four, and then we’re down real quick. We’re really going through those third-quarter woes.”
The Pilgrims surrendered 27 turnovers at the contest — including 17 in the second half and 10 in the fourth quarter alone — which the opportunistic Tigers capitalized on with 25 points off turnovers. It’s a problem the young Plymouth squad has struggled with repeatedly as it’s stumbled to a 1-6 start.
“Obviously, that dictates the game,” said Cox of the high turnover numbers. “That’s our MO, that’s our rap sheet. I think that’s not going to change because the tapes are out there, and the scouts are out there and the telephone calls: ‘How do you beat them?’ ‘Hey, press them.’ You can’t have 25 to 30. Today was a little different than the others. We were doing it right out of the locker room. We got it to four in the third and then we self-exploded.
“We’d have the ball tonight and get bumped and give it up and not get a call. You complain, the fans complain, but the reality of it is, you’ve just got to make that play and keep that ball.”
The Pilgrims were led a second straight game by junior forward Redinger, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds after a 24-point outing at South Bend Washington Wednesday, while several other players chipped in some points production with usual starter Hunters Stevens sitting out with illness.
Freshman point guard Harrell put up six points with a pair of steals, senior reserve Brittany Himes put up four points, and sophomore reserve Savannah Mae threw in five points with a steal in nine minutes of playing time.
“Savannah did a good job,” Cox said. “She’s been playing mainly JV. We saved her a quarter tonight and she came in and I thought really gave us energy and really helped us out. I think that’s what happens when you win on JV; you’ve got that confidence.”
While Plymouth lost the contest, one former Lady Pilgrim was a big winner as 2001 grad Andrea Shoff won a 2010 Ford Focus in a halftime contest sponsored by Oliver Ford.
“I appreciate the fans; we had a good turnout,” said Cox. “Gosh, we had a former player win a car. She was on my 2001 state runner-up team, so that was cool.”
Warsaw was led at the contest by a game-high 13 points from Jennifer Walker-Crawford, who also tallied three steals as the Tigers moved to 5-1 with a 1-0 NLC start.
Plymouth slid to 1-6 and 0-1 in the conference with their sixth straight loss. The Pilgrims host John Glenn Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“We’re getting better, but the problem with getting better is so is everyone else,” said Cox. “We thought tonight was a real good team effort, so we’ll build on that.”
At Plymouth
Score by quarters
Warsaw: 10 19 33 47
Plymouth: 4 13 22 30
WARSAW (47): Ashley Ousley 2 2-2 7, Sarah Ray 2 0-0 4, Madison Davis 1 0-0 2, Lauren Burish 1 0-0 3, Melanie Holladay 0 2-2 2, Eryn Leek 0 1-4 1, Jennifer Walker-Crawford 6 1-5 13, Lindsay Baker 2 0-0 5, Brooklyn Harrison 1 0-0 2, Sarah Heagy 3 1-1 7, Nikki Grose 0 1-2 1; Totals: 18 8-16 47.
PLYMOUTH (30): Lauren Tanner 1 0-0 2, Marissa German 0 1-4 1, Carly Baker 1 0-0 2, Hailey Harrell 2 2-2 6, Brittany Himes 1 1-2 4, Savannah Mae 2 0-0 5, Amber Redinger 3 4-4 10; Totals: 10 8-13 30.
3-point goals: Warsaw 3 (Ousley, Burish, Baker), Plymouth 2 (Himes, Mae); Turnovers: Warsaw 13, Plymouth 27; Rebounds: Warsaw 28 (Baker 7), Plymouth 24 (Redinger 7); Assists: Warsaw 9 (Baker 4), Plymouth 5 (Tanner, Baker, Harrell, Wright, Dewar); Steals: Warsaw 13 (Walker-Crawford 3), Plymouth 5 (Harrell 2, Redinger 2); Fouls (fouled out): Warsaw 16, Plymouth 17.
Records: Warsaw 5-1 (1-0 NLC), Plymouth 1-6, (0-1 NLC).
JV score: Plymouth 29, Warsaw 25.