The Plymouth Pilgrims had their season come to a close last night in a 57-44 loss to South Bend St. Joseph.
“We were on our heels for most of the night, especially in the first half.”, said Plymouth Head Coach, Kevin Stuckmeyer. “We let the play come to us instead of us being more aggressive on offense. Their 2-3 Zone kept stretching us which is what they wanted. We just struggled handling their ball pressure.”
An 11-2 third quarter run by St. Joe proved to be a deciding moment in the ballgame as SB St. Joe never looked back. The other glaring statistic was in the turnover category where Plymouth finished with 18 giveaways resulting in 19 Indian points. St. Joe had 13 turnovers in which Plymouth converted into 2 points.
“We didn’t take care of the ball as well as we should have. End result is our season is over. A lot of those turnovers came in untimely situations where it allowed them (St. Joe) to capitalize on.”, added Stuckmeyer.
Senior Brock Smith was the offensive highlight of game. He scored 17 pts….2 rebounds….3 assists….2 steals. Freshman Mack Mercer finished with 15 pts, 8 coming in the 4th quarter.
“St. Joe went after Mack pretty much all game long. When he got into foul trouble early, we didn’t execute well on offense from that point on. We needed to be stronger with ball, get better shots away and play with more of a purpose. It didn’t turn out that way unfortunately.”, said Stuckmeyer.
Plymouth says goodbye to four Seniors. Sean Smith, Mitch Holloway, Brock Smith and Houston Hodges.
“Mitch has always been a “great” team player. Always with the right attitude, never complained and never lacked effort in practice and on the court.”, said Stuckemeyer.
“You hear the saying “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. That’s what Sean has had to do this season. He has gone through a lot in his Senior year personally. It translated into basketball early in the season, but he turned himself around with a lot of support from the program and parents to finish the year successfully. Basketball has been his love and it showed. He’s been a great asset to this program.”, said Stuckmeyer.
“Brock Smith is everything you want in a ballplayer, on and off the court. He’s looked up too in hallways at school. He treats people as he wants to be treated. A competitor and great teammate. Who knows what our record would have been if we had Brock for the first 13 games of the season. I know this….it wouldn’t have been 3-11 heading into his eventual first game back against Northridge. We missed him greatly. We will miss his leadership next year.”, added Stuckmeyer.
Stuckmeyer praised Senior Houston Hodges as well. “He’s been with me since I started my coaching tenure here at Plymouth. By his senior year, he knew what I wanted done on the court. An intelligent player who has some incredible athletic ability to make things happen on the court. He was our General on the floor. He had to carry this team on his back a lot of times this season. Like Brock, Houston is an amazing individual off the court. Helping underprivileged kids in his spare time. Involved with leadership groups in school. He’s been a role model for a lot of our underclassmen to notice, and I hope they will carry that same dedication Houston has. His shoes will be the biggest to fill next year.”
Commitment will be this off-seasons theme for upcoming Pilgrim hopefuls.
“We need to get an off-season commitment from these kids. We have a good base to work from. Lack of varsity experience will not be an excuse. A lot of our underclassmen played several minutes this season for me. Each one needs to improve their main skill (ie: shooting) but also work just as hard on skills that they struggle with (ie: playing defense) as well. I’m looking forward to next year to see how good we could possibly be.”, said Stuckmeyer.
Pilgrims finish 7-15 on the season.