Following a 63-43 win over Sandusky St. Marys in the district championship, Plymouth looks ahead to the regional tournament and tonight's match up with Van Buren.
PLYMOUTH – Brad Turson had a decision to make early in the fourth quarter of last week's Division IV Willard district final against Sandusky St. Mary's.
Plymouth's coach could keep his son, sophomore sensation Brook, on the bench and hope the Big Red could hold off the hard-charging Panthers, who had cut a 14-point deficit to 10 with their ferocious fullcourt pressure.
Or he could send his 6-foot-3 point guard back onto the floor – even with four fouls.
The veteran coach chose the latter. The Big Red never looked back.
Final score: Plymouth 63, St. Mary's 43.
“I have a lot of confidence in our other guys,” the elder Turson said after his team captured its second district title in three years. “I think we pass the ball a little more when Brook isn't out there.
“But it's easier to play with him on the floor.”
Brook checked back into the game with 6:43 to play and the Big Red, who committed a pair of turnovers and struggled to advance the ball past midcourt in his absence, outscored St. Mary's 18-8 the rest of the way.
“I thought the other guys did a great job of maintaining their composure after I picked up my fourth foul,” Turson said. “Then when I got back out there, it was time to put them away.”
Turson scored just three of his game-high 21 points in the fourth, but handed out three of his eight assists and carved through the Panthers' press at will.
“He can get around anybody,” said 6-7 senior center Jacob Furr, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. “You can tell he's been in the gym since he was 3 years old.”
Turson, who will lead Plymouth (20-3) into tonight's regional semifinals against Van Buren (19-4) at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena, stormed onto the north central Ohio basketball scene last winter. He averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.7 steals a game as a freshman and was selected the Firelands Conference Player of the Year.
This year, he led north central Ohio in scoring (21.6), rebounds (10.5), assists (6.8) and steals (3.2). He scored a single-game school record 51 points in a 68-67 win over St. Peter's and had three triple-doubles during the regular season.
In two district tournament games last week, he had a combined 46 points, 29 rebounds and 15 assists.
“His basketball IQ is so high,” St. Mary's coach Scott Ruthsatz said. “He can beat you physically with his jump shot and his ability to handle and pass the ball, but his basketball IQ alone can beat teams.
“As a sophomore, it's incredible. You can tell he is a coach's son. Brad deserves a lot of credit for his development, too.”
If there is a chink in Turson's armor, it was on display against St. Mary's. He sometimes gets himself into foul trouble.
The problem has forced his father, who was selected the Northwest District co-coach of the year in Division IV, to rethink Plymouth's defensive philosophy. The Big Red employed a 2-3 zone in both district wins last week instead of their traditional man-to-man defense.
“We are strictly a man-to-man team,” Brook Turson said. “If we play zone, we can (hide) me down on the bottom. It has been tremendous.”
Plymouth, which set a single-season record with 17 wins in the regular season, will try to pick up its first ever regional victory tonight. Two years ago, the Big Red fell to eventual state champ South Webster in the regional semifinals.
“If we keep playing the way we played in the district tournament, the sky's the limit,” Brook Turson said. “We'll go out and play our game and see what happens.”