Mistakes cost Plum in loss to Gateway

| Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, 11:27 p.m.

Plum couldn't take advantage of Gateway's foul problems Friday and lost its first game of the season.

With four Gators on the floor with four personal fouls in the fourth period, coach Mitch Adams had to mix-and-match to find the right floor combination before Gateway could prevail 56-53.

Senior Delvon Randall had 16 of his 24 points in the second half, and Daylon Harris added 13 as the Gators advanced to 3-0 in Section 2-AAAA play, 5-1 overall.

Plum (5-1, 2-1) was led by James Edwards' 18 points and Nick Stotler's 14.

“Our kids played smart while we were in foul trouble,” Adams said. “We had one kid (Montae Nicholson) foul out and four more in foul trouble. But other kids stepped up.”

Plum never led, but the Mustangs were in it right to the point where Ethan Winesburgh's outside shot with four seconds left came up short.

“We got what we deserved,” Mustangs coach Ron Richards said. “We didn't play well enough to win. Too many mistakes, little stuff. We're not good enough to get away with making as many mistakes as we did. We probably gave them 20 points on run-out layups.”

One of the game's biggest factors was the play of Gateway senior Tom Kromka, fronting Plum's Austin Dedert, the Alle-Kiski Valley's second leading scorer over the season's first two weeks.

Dedert managed just two field goals, both in the second half, and finished with eight points, 12 below his average over the first five games.

“For Tommy, it's a challenge to him because he thinks Austin Dedert is such a great ballplayer,” Adams said. “He explained to our other kids how good Dedert is and our kids really rallied to the challenge.”

Dedert led the Mustangs with 13 rebounds.

Edwards took up much of the scoring slack with a trio of 3-point baskets in the second half.

His final trey with 1:43 left brought Plum to within 52-50. But Randall's tip-in of Kromka's missed shot put the Gators up 54-50.

After Winesburgh's basket with 15 seconds left made it 56-53, Gateway turned the ball over on the inbounds play as the ball hit off Randall's shin.

Plum set up a play, but Winesburgh's missed shot was cradled by Kromka as time expired.

“That's the way our games with them usually are,” Richards said. “I told them we have to learn from a game like this if we're going to move forward and get better.”

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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