PLYMOUTH — It’s unlikely that either team will have a lot for the highlight reel but the bottom line is Plymouth’s Pilgrims made plays and came away with a win at home by a 54-29 final.
There wasn’t a lot of offense in a game that finished the first quarter tied at two but what little there was seemed to come from Plymouth’s Jake Reichard who ended the night with 28 points three assists and four steals. Reichard won the duel with Winamac’s outstanding guard Will Larkin who ended the night with 13 of his team’s 29 points.
Still it was the Plymouth juniors defense that drew attention from his head coach.
“Jake struggled early offensively but we had challenged him defensively,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “He can be so much better than he has been on that end and tonight we saw a whole lot of positives. He brought an intensity level that we need. We challenged him with the (Will) Larkin kid. That was a team effort.”
Reichard ended the first half with 12 points but uncharacteristically missed some opportunities shooting the ball. In the second half he attacked the paint to push the Pilgrims offense.
A struggle in the season so far on the boards also saw an improvement. The Pilgrims had 10 different players get at least one board and Owen Yoder, Brady Hissong and Easton Strain all had four.
“We told them right before we came out that we’ve been getting killed on the boards and we have to take care of that,” said Bales. “We are going to play against more athletic players and we have to get that taken care of.”
“We are still struggling with the loose balls,” he said. “We are still a step slow and those are things that we have to get. We’ve started diving on the floor a lot more and hopefully that just becomes a habit that we aren’t hesitating. That’s a little thing that we have always done here at Plymouth and we have to get better at it.”
Along with Reichard, Brady Hissong added seven points and Dylan Gamble had six off the bench.
Fans saw a glimpse of the future at the end with the game firmly in hand at the halfway point in the fourth quarter Bales emptied his bench and gave some young players their first taste of varsity action.
“It’s always a pretty cool thing to be get out there on the court, kids dream of being a varsity basketball player,” said Bales. “It’s a compliment to our main guys that they took care of business that they took care of business and did a great job. It was a good team win and I was happy everybody got a chance to play.”
Plymouth (2-3) will be back in action at home on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. start against Gary Roosevelt.
•PLYMOUTH 54, WINAMAC 29
Plymouth 2 26 43 54
Winamac 2 10 15 29
Plymouth (54) — Caden Weidner 0 0-0 0, Schadek 0 0-0 0, Cam Weidner 0 0-0 0, Styers 0 0-0 0, Yoder 0 2-2 2, Reichard 11 5-6 28, Hissong 2 2-3 7, Feece 0 1-2 1, Houin 2 1-3 5, Gamble 1 4-6 6, Aker 0 0-0 0, Strain 2 0-0 5. Totals 17 15-23 54.
Winamac (29) — Larkin 4 3-7 13, Kasten 0 1-2 1, Bennett 1 2-4 4, Parish 1 0-0 3, May 1 2-3 4, Brandt 0 1-2 1. Totals 7 9-18 29.