“I think we played hard but I don’t know what it is – lack of listening, lack of execution at key times,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “Let’s face it – we gave up dribble penetration at key stretches. We get a chance to stop them and we couldn’t get the lead down the stretch there. We were there. One possession game.”
Playing without junior middleman Mack Mercer – out with a concussion suffered during the week – his Plymouth teammates tried to pick up the slack. The lack of Mercer’s scoring punch hurt, but it may have been defense in the middle that hurt most.
With time running out in OT Raider guard Sam Ahonen beat the Pilgrim defense from the lane, getting a layup that would prove to be the game winner for Northridge.
“Offensively at the end we did a better job getting to the basket we just didn’t finish and they did a better job,” said Bales. “They at least got the free throw opportunities. That had to do with us fading away and not taking it strong. You lose when you have a chance at a defensive stop. Lose it on a guy dribbling right down the middle of the lane. That doesn’t sit well with us.”
Joe Knapp ended the night with 20 points, David Lee had eight rebounds and four steals and Tom Felke picked up 11 points but in the end it wouldn’t be enough for the Pilgrims.
While offensive rebounds weren’t an issue early they became so as the game went on.
“Going into the half we only gave up two (offensive rebounds). Timely rebounds – when you miss it – was the issue,” said Bales. “(Nate) Ritchie had a couple over Plymouth jerseys. I know they were bigger than us at one aposition tonight but that was the only one. We just needed one stop at the end and we get the ball with :30.We didn’t get the job done and didn’t keep our guy in front and put ourselves in a bad position.”
“Another overtime stings again.”
Plymouth (11-3) plays at Mishawaka tomorrow. Northridge is now 5-9 on the year.
Plymouth won the JV contest by a 31-22 final.