Washington manhandled by Plymouth

Published 11:49 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

PINETOWN — Washington held Plymouth to just two made shots in the fourth quarter. The Vikings, giving minutes to younger players, were still able to win, 84-56, thanks to the lead they built early on.

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A quick flurry by Tyshawn Roberson closed the gap to five, 19-14, by the end of the first quarter. Plymouth responded with three baskets in 40 seconds en route to 12 unanswered points to begin the second period.

It was a result of the Vikings’ high-pressure press defense. It let them jump out in transition. Two layups during the run were produced by steals on the defensive end. Senior Aryn Gibson also didn’t hesitate to pull up for 3-pointers during fast-break chances.

“We turned them over a little bit. That’s the way we play,” Plymouth coach Lamont Gilliam said. “We can get transition baskets and get steals out of the press, then we can be really good.”

Pam Pack coach Ralph Biggs added: “They’re an athletic, long team. They play with pressure and they play hard. They have a good team and we didn’t have any pressure. We didn’t step up to the plate to handle the pressure.”

Washington finally stopped the bleeding 2:20 into the second. Tayevon Blackledge brought the Pam Pack fans that made the short trip to their feet with a one-handed dunk. Still, Washington trailed 31-16. It wouldn’t get any closer than 11 after Ja’quez Ruffin completed a 3-point play.

Tayevon Blackledge hoists up a 3-pointer against Plymouth on Monday.

“The crowd always stays with us, and we’re thankful for that. No matter how the game looks, the crowd stays with us,” Biggs said. “They brought great energy. We’ve got to learn to take their energy and put it on the court.”

Plymouth went on a rampage to open the second half. Gibson knocked down a pair of shots, and four other Vikings scored as they built a 62-29 lead. Jacquel Winfield’s layup nearly halfway through the third gave Washington its first basket of the period.

“We don’t have shooters. That was a great strategy by them,” Biggs said. Plymouth’s half-court defense focused on keeping Washington from getting inside. “We might make one or two 3-pointers per game. We’re not shooters.”

Jirah Woolard took over in the fourth, laying in a handful of buckets. Woolard’s one-man show in the final quarter was impressive, but not nearly enough to make Washington’s 11th loss any less ugly.

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The Pam Pack will play Southside for third place on Wednesday at 6 p.m.