PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Big Red nearly came all the way back Friday night at Plymouth High School in the season opener against Shelby.
Twice finding themselves down 18 points in the first half, the Big Red came up just a point short, falling to the Lady Whippets 61-60 in non-league action.
Shelby actually won the game on the glass, out-rebounding Plymouth, 51-21.
“That's a main focus for us,” Plymouth coach Scott Speicher said. “We didn’t rebound the ball real well.”
The Big Red faced deficits of 22-4 and 30-12 in the first half. They trailed 34-24 at the half.
“We had a bad start,” Speicher said. “But these are character kids and we made a nice run before the half. Really, it was a game of runs, we'd make one and then they’d make one.
“There were a lot of little things tonight,” the coach added. “A free throw here or a rebound there, but they are all things that are identifiable. Being down 22-4, we could have packed it in at that point.
“Shelby is a very good team and a good litmus test for us to start the season,” Speicher said. “We came within one point of them and that's the closest we've ever been. We need to execute for four quarters like we did in the second half.”
Plymouth battled foul trouble all night, especially 6-foot-1 senior center Nicole Lyons, who finished with 12 points in limited minutes before fouling out.
“A lot of those fouls were avoidable for Nicole,” Speicher said. “We’ll keep working hard on defensive technique.”
Plymouth was paced by senior Bre McVey, who scored 23 points. Classmate Sarah Shirey added 10 points.
For Shelby, sophomore Emma Hostetler netted 14, while senior Katie Guill scored 12.
Jena Biglin, Jennifer Grove and Alyssa Tilton each chipped in eight points for the Whippets.
Plymouth ended the night 20-of-55 from the floor and 17-of-26 at the line. The Big Red had 11 turnovers.
Shelby was 24-of-60 in action shots, 13-of-19 at the stripe and committed 17 miscues.
Speicher had to leave immediately after Friday's game and head to Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk because his daughter was likely to give birth to the coach’s first grandchild any moment.
Plymouth is back in action Tuesday at Crestline in non-league play.
Shelby won the jayvee game, 34-30.
Guill 6-0-12, Biglin 4-0-8, Grove 3-2-8, Strine 0-2-2, Hostetler 5-4-14, Murray 3-1-7, Tilton 2-4-8, Fulton 1-0-2. Totals 24-13-61.
McVey 7-7-23, Lyons 4-4-12, Jacobs 2-0-4, Shirey 2-5-10, Goth 2-0-4, Adams 2-1-5, Mowry 1-0-2. Totals 20-17-60.
Score by quarter
Shelby 18 16 15 12 — 61
Plymouth 4 20 18 18 — 60
Reserve: Shelby 34-30