By Ryan Palencer
MOORESVILLE — Behind a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds from senior Calvin Blank, Terre Haute North dominated the interior and knocked off Plainfield 63-40 Tuesday night in the sectional opener at Mooresville.
“Terre Haute North is physically strong,” Plainfield coach Andy Weaver said. “They hurt us on the boards tonight and a lot on the interior. I just think that their physical strength bothered us. It extended our offense. We got tired and we didn’t cut and screen very well. They took us off our spots. You have to get them a lot of credit. They are very well prepared and very well coached.”
The Patriots (12-11) got off to a hot start, beginning the game on an 11-2 run.
However the Quakers (5-16) closed the first quarter strong and closed the deficit to 18-11.
The interior play and the physicality was too much for Plainfield, as Terre Haute North claimed a 34-18 advantage at halftime. Blank knocked down 8-of-10 shots before halftime, scoring 17 of his points in the half.
There was no quit in the Quakers, as they went on an 8-2 run in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots were too much and advanced in the tournament to challenge Martinsville on Friday.
Along with Blank, Austin Lewis and Steven Davis each chipped in 11 points.
Josh Courtney led that way for the Quakers with 10 points, while Luke Jones scored eight and Tim Baute chipped in seven.
Friday marked the final game in the careers of five seniors – Jake Jay, Jones, Courtney, Baute, and Jon Aldridge.
In his first year with the Quakers, Weaver knew that the adjustment would be tough for the seniors, but he could not say enough about how they performed during a strong midseason run.
“It’s hard because you have a new coach, a new system, and a new language the first year,” Weaver said. “We lost our first nine games, but then we were able to win five of seven at one point. Our seniors stepped up during the winning streak and had some big contributions.”
As for next season, Weaver has high hopes, as several contributors return. However, he knows that there is a great deal of work to do in order to fill the shoes of the seniors.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Weaver said. “We have to hit the weight room hard. Without question, we need to get in the weight room and we need to get in the gym. There is a combination of three things for us. We have to get physically stronger, we have to work on our skills, and we have to develop some mental toughness too. Those are the three areas that we are really going to try to emphasize during the offseason”