Multiple Teams · South Bend Tribune article


High school basketball: Hoops like it use to be.

SOUTH BEND — Anyone who moans about the current state of high school basketball no longer has the right to complain if they weren’t at Washington High Friday night.

That was how tournament time used to be.

Packed house. Electric atmosphere. Two of the area’s best teams. Bonus basketball.

“I thoroughly enjoyed watching that game,” Riley coach Mark Johnson said of Penn’s (21-1) thrilling 71-67 overtime win over Washington (14-5). “That was as good a sectional game as you’re ever going to see.”

Nate Miller, a 5-foot-8 junior guard who was silent for the first four quarters, came to life in the extra five minutes. He scored six of Penn’s nine points and had two critical steals and two rebounds to ignite the victory.

In Friday’s second game in the Class 4-A sectional, Riley (14-8) withstood a furious Plymouth (11-11) rally to prevail, 51-46.

Penn and Riley will decide the title Monday at 7 p.m. because Penn’s girls team is playing for the Class 4-A state championship Saturday night.

Riley 51, Plymouth 46: Five minutes without 6-9 Mack Mercer was too much for Plymouth to handle.

With 5:18 left in the first half, the Pilgrims led, 17-10. That’s when Mercer picked up his second foul and went to the bench.

Riley went on a 15-0 run to close out the half and grab a lead the Pilgrims could never overcome.

“We were tentative,” Plymouth coach Ryan Bales said of his team’s performance during that stretch. “We stopped defending. We stopped competing.”

During that spurt, Ja’Mare Washington scored five of his 14 points and Reontre’ Lawrence had four of his 16.

“(Having Mercer off the floor) was big,” said Riley’s Johnson. “We shot over big things (at practice) yesterday, but it sure is a lot easier shooting over tennis racquets than it was against Mercer.

“We wanted to attack the wings. When he went outside, we wanted to attack inside.”

That’s pretty much what the Wildcats did all night.

Mercer had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but the Pilgrims had trouble finding other help. Tom Felke added 12 points.

RILEY (51): Ja’Mare Washington 5 4-6 14, Micah Williams 3 1-2 7, Rontre’ Lawrence 5 5-9 16, JaQuan Walker 0 3-4 3, Junior Scott 3 0-0 7, Thaddeus Phillips 0 0-0 0, Miquan Patton 2 0-0 4, Joshua Hodge 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 13-21 51.

PLYMOUTH (46): Mack Mercer 7 1-3 17, Trent Briles 1 0-0 3, Tom Felke 4 2-2 12, Matt Flynn 0 0-0 0, Nick Bayley 0 0-0 0, Josh Anders 1 0-0 2, Nick Felke 2 0-0 6, Reis Yoder 2 0-0 6. TOTALS: 17 3-5 46.

Riley 6 25 40 51
Plymouth 11 17 32 46

Shooting: Riley 18 of 45 (40 percent), Plymouth 17 of 42 (40 percent); 3-point goals: Riley 2 (Lawrence 1, Scott 1), Plymouth 9 (Mercer 2, Yoder 2, N. Felke 2, T. Felke 2, Briles 1); Rebounds: Riley 35 (Washington 15), Plymouth 24 (Mercer 10); Turnovers: Riley 9, Plymouth 13; Total fouls (fouled out): Riley 8 (none), Plymouth 13 (none); Officials: Zachary Sliwa, Bob Neff, Russell Brown; Records: Riley 14-8, Plymouth 11-11.