SOUTH BEND – They’ll talk about the wild end but it was simply a wild game as Plymouth hung on to take a 52-51 win in overtime over South Bend Washington in the opening round of sectional action at South Bend.
It was a game that never saw a lead bigger than 5, was tied at the first quarter, half and regulation breaks, and Plymouth holding a lead after the third quarter on Dyllon Pavey’s put back bucket at the buzzer.
The game also saw its share of heroics on both sides from Pavey, Nick Felke, Garrett Tharp and Clay Hilliard for the Pilgrims and Cory McKinney, Cade Wahlberg and Alex Francouer for Washington, but in the end the wildest part of the game was the final nine seconds of overtime as Felke buried a lay in to put the Pilgrims up by one and as Washington’s Joshua Wilson was hitting the lay in that would be the presumptive game winner for the Panthers with 1.7 on the clock, the South Bend Washington bench was calling the time out that would take the bucket off the board and in the end give the Pilgrims the win.
“You expect it to be a little crazy this time of year,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Bales. “(McKinney) is a load to keep in front, Wahlberg, we knew he could shoot it but he’s really stepped up the last four games. We had him on the report the fact is he still stepped up and made some big time plays. “
No play was bigger time than the final play of regulation as Plymouth – trailing by three with 10 seconds to play – got the ball into Felke’s hands on the left wing at the volleyball line and he drained a shot to give Plymouth the overtime chance.
“It comes down to our guys,” said Bales. “There were a lot of ups and downs in this game. Things that didn’t go our way but we continued to stick with it. We executed very well. We were in some tough situations where it would have been easy to panic. We showed great composure, got the ball to the right guy and he made good decisions with it.”
With Washington making a concerted defensive effort to keep the ball out of the hands of Felke and Hilliard several other Pilgrims were called on for crucial minutes as the “Bigs” came through with points and key defensive plays, particularly Pavey and Tharp in the final minutes.
“Those two gave us some great minutes but they also had a great week of practice,” said Bales. “We challenged them at halftime. I thought their bigs outplayed our bigs – they wanted the paint a little more – those put backs those hustle plays make a huge difference this time of year. We had a good rotation going with them and (Cole) Filson and Kadin (McCrammer) gave us great minutes too.”
“We didn’t do a great job again on the board but we found a way to weather that. At halftime going in we felt fortunate to be even. Bottom line is that we live to play again another day. I’m just proud of our players.”
Plymouth (14-9) takes on Mishawaka (9-13) in the first game Friday night with tip off at 6 p.m. Winner will play for the championship on Saturday night.
Score by Quarters
Washington 11 20 27 46 51
Plymouth 11 20 29 46 52
Washington (51) – Cory McKinney 6 4-4 17, Tony Stuckey 1 0-0 2, Alex Franceour 1 0-0 3, Da’Qwan, Dockery 0 0-0 0, Cade Walberg 8 0-0 23, Josh Wilson 2 2-4 6, Brandan Watts 0 0-0 0, Jylen Petty 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-8 51.
Plymouth (52) – Clay Hilliard 4 2-2 13, Cam Dennie 0 0-0 0, Ryan Carmichael 3 1-2 7, Nick Felke 5 2-5 13, Nathan Patterson 0 0-0 0, Kadin McCrammer 0 0-0 0, Dyllon Pavey 2 0-0 4, Cole Filson 2 3-4 7, Garrett Tharp 3 2-2 8. Totals 19 10-15 52.
3 Pt. FG – Washington 9-21 (Walberg 7), Plymouth 4-13 (Hilliard 3).
Rebounds – Washington 29 (Wilson 10), Plymouth 23 (Tharp 6).
Assists – Washington (McKinney 5), Plymouth 7 (Felke 4).
Steals – Washington 4 (Dockery 2), Plymouth 8 (Felke 4).
Turnovers – Washington 12, Plymouth 10.
Fouls (Fouled Out) – Washington 15, Plymouth 15.