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Plymouth stays on top in NLC hunt with win over Memorial

January 6, 2019

PHS celebratePLYMOUTH – It was a night of big plays made by a lot of players as the Plymouth Pilgrims stayed on top of the NLC title chase by beating #5 ranked (4A) Elkhart Memorial with a 61-57 overtime win at Plymouth.

“We didn’t flinch tonight,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. “There have been other games when other teams start to make a run, they hit a few shots and tonight we stayed composed.”
The Pilgrims did more than that. They took the Chargers out of their up tempo, hustling full court type of play and made it their game and giving them a chance to win, only trailing at one quarter break – the first.
For a big stretch of the second quarter, Jake Reichard came up big with 12 first half points and leading a charge that helped tie the game at halftime. Unfortunately Reichard went down hard on a rebound attempt hitting his head on the floor.
The Plymouth sophomore tried to continue in the third quarter but couldn’t due to a hip injury and the decision was made to end his night. Then it would be “next man up” for the Pilgrims.
“Jake going down you don’t know who that player is going to be and tonight it happened to be Adam Hunter,” said Bales. “I’m very proud of him. He’s been up and down at times this year and he’s been bouncing between two teams lately (varsity and JV) and some kids take that the wrong way. He just played. He had an aggressive game tonight.”
“Even if he doesn’t hit those shots – if Hilliard doesn’t hit those shots – they didn’t flinch,” said Bales. “They played with confidence.”
Hunter had a night to remember as he not only scored 24 points in the JV contest in just two quarters, he buried the game tying three in the final minute of regulation, and put the Pilgrims ahead by three with a triple in overtime.
Clay Hilliard hit four clutch free throws in the final seconds of overtime to seal the deal on his way to a 23 point night.
Probably bigger was a Plymouth defense that held Memorial’s outstanding scorer Hank Smith to four of 16 shooting (25 percent) and 15 points and held a team that made a living on offensive rebounding to just seven on the night.
“The last couple games we’ve figured some things out on defense,” said Bales. “They hit some really tough shots, the kind of shots that we wanted them taking. The (Ben) Roby kid came out of nowhere and we’re straight up on his shots and you have to give him credit he came up big like Adam did for us.”
Roby ended the game with 12 points.
“We showed some toughness and had some big time rebounds,” said Bales. “They’ve out hustled everybody they’ve played so far but I was really proud of our kids fight tonight.”
Kendall Himes came up big with solid minutes off the bench and grabbing five rebounds, Joe Barron led the Pilgrims with six boards.
Plymouth (8-3 and 2-0 in the NLC) takes on Tippecanoe Valley at home on Saturday night. Memorial (7-2, 1-1) plays at South Bend Adams.
at Plymouth
EM 11 15 7 15 9 – 57
10 16 7 15 13 – 61
Elkhart Memorial (57) – Qaiyim 1 1-3 3, Gallope 2 0-0 4, Miller 2 0-0 6, Smith 4 5-8 15, Forester 1 0-0 2, Roby 6 0-1 12, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Lewis 6 2-2 15. Totals 22 8-14 57.
Plymouth (61) – Hunter 2 1-1 7, Hilliard 6 6-8 23, Filson 2 6-9 10, Reichard 5 0-3 12, Dolan 1 0-0 2, Barron 0 2-2 2, Winkle 0 1-2 1, Himes 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 16-25 61.
3 Pt. FG – Memorial 5-24 (Miller, Smith 2), Plymouth 9-17 (Hilliard 5).
Rebounds – Memorial 22 (Smith 6), Plymouth 29 (Barron 6).
Assists – Memorial 9 (Gallope 4), Plymouth 22 (Filson, Barron 5).
Steals – Memorial 5 (Lewis 3), Plymouth 2 (Hilliard, Himes).
Turnovers – Memorial 5, Plymouth 12.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Memorial 19 (Gallope), Plymouth 17.