The Lady Pilgirms knew well in advanced that the Rensselaer Regionals were going to be a rough road. Coming into this past weekends Regional play on a 4 game winning streak, Griffith was going to be the first hurdle to jump in order at a shot at Benton Central who defeated Rensselaer Central 64-28 earlier in game 1.
It was a slow start offensively for Plymouth who was outscored 10-6 after one quarter. Plymouth struggled scoring in the early stages of the 2nd quarter when Plymouth Coach Dave Duncan called a time to reorganize his group and from that point on, Plymouth never looked back. Plymouth outscored Griffith 13-4 in the 2nd quarter to take a 19-14 lead at halftime.
We needed that timeout. I didn’t like how we were playing both ways. More for our offensive purpose at the time. But we needed to change our intensity. We had none leading up to that timeout.”, said Plymouth Head Coach Dave Duncan.
Both teams really made some nice defensive adjustments in which Plymouth outscored Griffith 13-11 in the low scoring half. The Lady Pilgrims never led by more than eight points but never let Griffith get closer than three points in the second half.
Plymouth got 11 points from Amber Redinger and 10 from Haley Harrell in a 32-25 semifinal victory
The Regional Championship game proved to be exciting as Plymouth faced Benton Central in the nightcap.
“Our game plan was to try to take them (Benton Central) out of their rhythm. They are so good at dictating the pace of a ballgame, we were going to slow it down and keep it a low scorin affair.”, said Coach Duncan.
The plan started off alright with the score being 0-0 after a minute and half. Then Benton Central took advantage of some missed Plymouth opportunities and before you could blink….Plymouth was trailing 11-2 after the first quarter.
Then it was Plymouth’s turn.
“I told our kids in between quarters that we needed to turn up our defensive intensity and that will begin kick-starting our offense. And I thought our girls did very well getting back into the game by halftime.”, said Coach Duncan.
Plymouth’s defense sent the #4-3A Lady Bison on their heels in the second quarter outscoring them 12-4, trailing 15-14 at halftime.
Getting off to a good start was the emphasis in the Plymouth locker room. It apparetly was the point of emphasis in the Benton Central locker room as well. Benton Central jumped out early in the third with a string of scores that put pressure on Plymouth’s offense to score. To Plymouth’s credit they began coming back in the late third quarter getting within six points of Benton Central when a foul on Plymouth was called, as Benton Central’s Miss Indiana Basketball Candidate, Caitlyn Tolen drew a foul call. In what was an already intense game as Plymouth was trying to make a run at Benton Central, Coach Duncan questioned the call as the official was signaling the foul to the scores bench. Immediately, Coach Duncan threw his hands out with bewilderment on the call and the official signaled a technical foul on Coach Duncan.
When asked what he (Duncan) said to the official to get the technical foul? “I didn’t say anything! I just threw my hands out in disgust and he gave me a technical. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t say a word to him to deserve that.”, he added.
Unfortunately, that incident proved to be a big momentum swing for Benton Central in which they never looked back despite a comeback attempt by the Lady Pilgrims.
Benton Central’s 1-2 punch of Caitlyn Tolen and Cassidy Deno combined for 39 of the 44 Benton Central points.
Plymouth says goodbye to three Seniors Amber Redinger, Lauren Tanner, and Andrea Shook.
“These three girls have been the backbone of this program for the past couple years. Redinger really improved this year. She got stronger and played like a real Senior. Lauren (Tanner) really concentrated on her defense this season, and it showed. She played to her strength this season. She was a real good leader this season. I couldn’t ask for three better Seniors. I will miss them sorely.”, said Duncan.
Plymouth finishes the season at 18-7. 4-3 in the NLC.