PLYMOUTH — Plymouth's Pilgrims continue to ride the roller coaster with a very up and down day of basketball, falling in game one of the First Source Bank Holiday Tournament by a 62-49 final to Knox then found a renewed energy in taking a solid 59-45 win over Whitko in the consolation matchup.
Plymouth 59, Whitko 45
After a lackluster start to the day, Plymouth looked like a completely different team in taking a win over Whitko in the night match up.
"That's what can make it frustrating at times but it's also what gives you glimpses of hope," said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. "You've got to stop hoping that a particular team shows up. This year it's been very black and white for us. I can't explain what causes that other than a group of guys decide together that they are going to get it done."
"We have things to work on," he said. "But it's a positive and that's a great thing for us."
The game started in a shoot out with Plymouth weathering an early push by the Wildcats to trail by just one at the first break. In the second quarter of a full-court game, the Pilgrims did better than hold serve and scored 21 points in the frame to head in at the half with a seven-point lead.
"It's the second game of the day, the consolation and a lot of teams might show up and just go through the motions," said Bales. "Some of it is that the ball was going in. It helps to relieve and relax. These guys know the right way to play the game. They know what's expected of them when they show up to get out here and play the game. We had another opportunity to come out tonight and compete and I think our kids took advantage of that."
It was also a showdown for two outstanding high school players in Plymouth's Jake Reichard and Whitko's Brett Sigafoose who matched each other nearly shot for shot in the first half. Reichard had 18 of Plymouth's 36 points at the break, Sigafoose had 17 of his team's 29. Reichard would end the night with 27 points and a total of 51 on the day. Sigafoose closed the game with 20.
"He's (Reichard) at his best when he's playing relaxed but still in attack mode," said Bales. "It's hard to explain. If you're tense and not relaxed it feeds into your head. You have to trust yourself and trust other guys and I think he did a good job tonight responding, and was much better from a leadership standpoint."
The Pilgrims jumped to an 11 point lead at the end of three and then spread it out to hold the win.
It was a team win with nine players seeing the floor in the game, each making a contribution. Easton Strain and Joe Styers had big nights with the freshman Strain with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Styers had four assists and his normal night of taking multiple charging fouls, taking points off the board on one of them.
"Playing the right way to me means sharing the basketball and I think our screeners did a great job," said Bales. "(Joe) Styers and (Easton) Strain to start the game did an awesome job, (Owen) Yoder and (Grant) Houin came in and gave us good minutes."
"As a team tonight we were sharing the basketball and getting it to people with a chance to score the ball and that's what we have to do."
Plymouth is now 4-6 with a game on the road at Michigan City on Tuesday night.
Knox 62, Plymouth 49
Friday morning's game was the classic story of the one that got away as the Pilgrims traded runs and leads with the Redskins for the entire game only to see the final minute and a half turn into a nightmare as Knox ran away with a game one win.
Knox ran out to an early lead but the Pilgrims slowed them to a crawl in the first quarter and came away trailing by one. From there each team traded good stretches and bad and went into the final quarter tied at 36.
About halfway into the frame, the wheels came off for Plymouth, as Knox was able to force empty possessions and capitalize on free throws to take the win.
Knox guard Gunner Wagner had a big floor game for Knox with eight key rebounds and 12 points while fellow guard Cade Short had 19 points to lead the way for the Redskins with five rebounds of his own. Kole McIntire rounded out the Redskins in double digits with 12 points with 8-10 from the free-throw line and four assists.
Knox forced six of Plymouth's 12 turnovers in the key fourth quarter and sealed it with 13 of 17 from the line down the stretch.
Adam Hunter's three-pointer was the only Plymouth score outside of Jake Reichard's eight points in the final quarter. Reichard led the Pilgrims with 24 points and three assists. Brady Hissong had five rebounds.
•PLYMOUTH 59, WHITKO 45
Whitko 16 29 39 45
Plymouth 15 36 50 59
Whitko (45) — Sickafoose 8 1-1 20, Ebbinghouse 4 0-0 12, Rickerd 2 2-2 6, Lewis 2 0-1 5, Bryant 1 0-0 2, Craig 0 0-0 0, Sapp 0 0-0 0, Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0.
Plymouth (59) — Reichard 12 2-4 27, Hunter 5 0-0 12, Strain 5 0-0 10, hissong 3 0-0 7, Weidner 1 0-0 3, Feece 0 0-0 0, Houin 0 0-0 0, Yoder 0 0-0 0, Styers 0 0-0 0.
•KNOX 62, PLYMOUTH 47
Knox 10 25 36 62
Plymouth 9 23 36 47
Knox (62) — Short 8 3-3 19, Wagner 2 8-13 12, McIntire 2 8-10 12, A. Taulbee 3 0-0 8, Rose 2 3-3 7, Geller 1 0-1 3, B. Taulbee 0 0-0 0, Wakal 0 0-0 0.
Plymouth (47) — Reichard 8 6-12 24, Hunter 3 0-0 9, Strain 2 0-0 6, Barron 2 0-0 4, Weidner 1 0-0 3, Hissong 0 1-2 1, Styers 0 0-0 0, Houin 0 0-0 0, Yoder 0 0-0 0.