Unable to make a defensive stop only 24 hours previously in a loss to Northridge in OT, it was the Mishawaka Cavemen who couldn’t get it done Saturday night falling to the Pilgrims by a 52-48 final.
A Joe Knapp drive to the basket with just seconds remaining put the Pilgrims ahead to stay.
“Joe took it at the right place and the right time completed the three point play,” said Bales. “I’m proud of our guys who stepped up and made plays. The way he was taking it to the rim hard you knew he was going to finish. He played a lot of minutes this weekend, I think that says a lot about him.”
Knapp ended the night with 12 points and three assists. Trent Briles hit 11 points, David Lee and Ike Kastner led the team in rebounds with five each and Tom Felke had four steals to add with 10 points.
The win also says a lot about a Plymouth team that was once again playing without Mack Mercer – out with a concussion.
“There’s not a lot of programs that could come back from last night the way we did, to come back and fight I thought we showed a lot of heart and a lot of guts,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “We challenged them this morning they responded and I’m really proud of them.”
The Pilgrims trailed through a good portion of the game but made the defense work in the paint. The Cavemen had a substantial number of shots at the basket but couldn’t make them drop against another tough Plymouth defensive effort.
The Pilgrims were able to stretch their lead heading into the final frame a key that was not lost.
“We kept stressing patience – catch it and look,” said Bales. “We had those two turnovers when they started to press where we catch it and dribble right away, that’s what they want you to do. Up more than two possessions we want pull it out a little and make them use clock.”
Plymouth faces Goshen (Mishawaka’s next opponent Tuesday) this Friday night at the Rock.