After a 46-44 winning battle early Saturday morning against a talented West Lafayette team, the Pilgrims geared themselves for yet another difficult task against #3-3A Andrean Fighting 59′ers. Despite an heroic effort by Joe Knapp’s three pointer to send it into an extra frame, the Pilgrims dropped their fourth game of the season (all in overtimes) 70-60.
“Obviously, this one really hurts. I thought our kids kept battling all night long against one of the best teams in the state (Andrean). You know….it’s…it’s just disappointing when you haven’t lost a game all year long in regulation periods and can’t seem to win in overtimes.”, said Plymouth Head Coach Ryan Bales.
Plymouth got off to a sluggish start in the first half, yet only trailed by one (23-22) heading into the third quarter.
“I don’t know if the fact that playing West Lafayette early today took some energy from our guys in the first half. It was more “us” then Andrean keeping us from establishing what we wanted to do. We were taking some bad shots, settling, shooting uncharacteristically. We struggled making adjustments but yet we were only down by a point. So we were doing what it took to stay in the ballgame.”, added Bales.
It was like watching two heavyweight fighters battle in the second half. Match-ups were not in Plymouth’s favor all night long. The 59er’s had three players over 15 points in the game, and Andrean guard Nick Davidson added 10 assists as part of his effort.
“Matching personnel with Andrean is a problem. We knew it would be, but our kids refused to quit. To a point where Knapp get’s us into overtime with that buzzer beater.”, said Bales.
Plymouth was hoping to take that momentum into overtime and utilize it. Unfortunately, a early score right from the tip-off proved to the last time Plymouth stayed even. It also didn’t help that Plymouth’s “big man” Mac Mercer, was in foul trouble with four. Andrean wasted no time going after him, as Mercer fouled out of the game early in the extra frame.
“Yea, losing Mercer hurt us in match-ups, but it wasn’t the only time we’ve had to play without him. I was still looking for effort by the guys I put on the floor. I was pleased that effort.”, said Bales.
With the 10 point loss to Andrean, Plymouth finishes their season at 21-4, 4-3 NLC. They also say goodbye to 5 Seniors. Gave Vervynkt, David Lee, Keyser McCrammer, Ike Kastner, and Joe Knapp.
“These 5 Seniors have been a great model for our underclassmen, for the program, and for our community. I hope our community understands how well these kids matured through the winter. They encountered some difficult situations that they learned from, suffered injuries, and through it all, battled each game to represent the program, the school, and their community. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of Seniors than I am with this group.”, Bales said.