DUNLAP — For the first half of their matchup with Plymouth on Friday, the Concord boys basketball team were at the top of their game.
Senior Drew McDougle wasn't missing from 3-point range, while classmate Michael Johnson was dominating inside.
But that four-point Concord lead at halftime disintegrated quickly, as a red-hot Plymouth team came back to beat the Minutemen, 57-45, in a Northern Lakes Conference battle on Friday at McCuen Gym.
"We just ran out of gas,'' Concord coach Derrick DeShone admitted. "We played a great first half against one of the best programs in the state of Indiana and had a lead. But chasing them around the perimeter took a toll and you could see it in our shooting in the second half.''
The stats proved DeShone's point. After hitting 50 percent of their shots in the first two quarters, the Minutemen were just 6-of-20 in the final 16 minutes, as Concord used just six players until late in the game and Plymouth wore down the feisty Concord team.
McDougle scored 15 points in the first half, hitting five-of-six from 3-point range to key the Concord offense. Meanwhile, Johnson added 10 points, while also blocking five Plymouth shots.
However, the Pilgrims, who have now won seven-of-eight and are tied with Warsaw for first place in the NLC, came out focused in the third quarter and quickly took the lead, as sophomore Jake Reichard and junior Joe Barron opened the third quarter with 3-pointers and Cole Filson added a layup to give Plymouth a 39-25 lead at the 4:07 mark of the third.
But a jumper by Johnson and a 3-pointer by freshman Jack D'Arcy would give the Minutemen the lead for the final time at 30-29 with 2:42 to play in the quarter, before an 8-2 run gave Plymouth a 37-32 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
McDougle, who hit hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second quarter, was 0-4 from behind the arc in the third.
"You could see the shots we were hitting early just coming up short in the third,'' DeShone said. "We had some real good looks, but the shots just didn't fall. Plus, everytime we needed a ball to bounce our way, it seemed to go right to Plymouth under the basket.''
Plymouth took total control in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, as senior Clay Hilliard scored seven points in a 9-0 Pilgrim run that all but sealed the win. The spurt was 13-1 for coach Ryan Bales' squad, before Johnson hit a 3-pointer for the Minutemen to stop the bleeding.
"We told the kids that Plymouth – and especially Hilliard – would come out really determined in the second half,'' DeShone said. "I thought we did a great job on Hilliard through three quarters, but we lost him a few times to start the fourth and he hurt us. He's just a really good player.''
How good were the Pilgrims in the second half? They hit 14-of-18 from the field against a tiring Concord defense.
Hilliard led Plymouth with 21 points, while Filson and Reichard each had 10. Reichard also had seven assists for the Pilgrims.
Johnson finished with 21 points and seven rebounds to pace the Minutemen, while McDougle finished with 15 points. Luke Shoemaker seven assists and D'Arcy five for Concord.
The Minutemen, now 2-8 and 1-2 in the NLC, will play Elkhart Central at North Side Gym on Tuesday.
PLYMOUTH 57, CONCORD 45
Plymouth: Clay Hilliard 8-16 2-2 21, Jake Reichard 3-7 2-2 10, Cole Filson 5-9 0-0 10, Joe Barron 1-2 0-0 3, Bryce Carmichael 1-1 0-0 2, Adam Hunter 1-1 1-2 3, Tom Dolan 3-3 0-0 8, Grant Houin 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Styers 0-1 0-0 0, Kendall Himes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-42 5-6 57.
Concord: Jack D'Arcy 1-2 0-0 3, Luke Shemaker 0-6 0-0 0, Sherman Southern 0-3 2-4 2, Drew McDougle 5-15 0-0 15, Michael Johnson 9-12 2-2 21, Brock Troyer 0-2 2-2 2, Braedon Taylor 0-3 0-0 0, Griffin Swartout 0-0 0-0 0, Paxton Starrett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-40 8-10 45.
Scoring by Quarters
3-point goals: Plymouth (8-17) – Hilliard 3-9, Reichard 2-5, Dolan 2-2, Barron 1-1; Concord (7-23) – McDougle 5-12, Johnson 1-2, D'Arcy 1-2. Total fouls: Plymouth 15, Concord 11. Turnovers: Plymouth 8, Concord 15. Rebounds: Plymouth (17) – Hilliard 6; Concord (22) – Johnson 7. Assists: Plymouth (13) – Reichard 7; Concord (13) – Shoemaker 7. Records: Plymouth 10-3 (3-0 in NLC), Concord 2-8 (1-2).