MANSFIELD -- Joe Jakubick hates to lose. Make no mistake. But the veteran Mansfield St. Peter's coach thinks an early January loss may pay dividends down the road for his Spartans.
After a 42-34 win Tuesday night in the Franciscan Activity Center against Plymouth, Jakubick said his team's intensity has improved since last Friday night's loss to Lucas.
"Lucas took it to us. I felt they outworked us. I felt they played harder than us. That's what was disappointing. Not losing, because Lucas is a quality team. It's how you compete. I felt against (Columbus Bishop) Watterson the next night, we got beat by six, but we competed.
"We will see how we do going forward, but I really feel from that (Lucas) game, at least against Watterson and what I saw tonight, we're competing the way we really need to compete," Jakubick said.
The non-league win on Tuesday improved St. Peter's record to 6-5. Plymouth slipped to 5-5 with the loss.
BIG FINISH: One Spartan who competed Tuesday night was senior forward Luke Henrich, who led St. Peter's with 15 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.
St. Peter's led just 26-24 going into the period, but went on a 10-2 run to open a 36-26 edge with 4:11 left to play. Two of Henrich's baskets came on put-backs after offensive rebounds.
"I had a really bad first half, but my teammates were there for me the whole game," Henrich said. "We turned things around in the second half and we executed really well.
"I feel all our guys do a good job (of offensive rebounding)," Henrich said. "We do a lot of running in practice so we can stay in shape because offensive rebounding takes a lot of effort."
Jakubick praised Henrich's performance.
"Luke has very, very good this year at getting offensive rebounds and getting stick-backs," Jakubick said. "His effort is tremendous. Tonight was no exception. He has done it for several games. That's what you expect from seniors."
Plymouth coach Derrick Shellenberger lamented his team's effort on the boards.
"Our defensive rotations were pretty good, but if you don't finish with a box out, and you give them offensive rebound after offensive rebound ... there is no defense for a 2-footer off an offensive rebound," Shellenberger said.
"We gave up 18 points on offensive rebounds. That's something we can control if we just box out. Eighteen points in a game like this is huge. We're small, one of the smaller teams in the area. We know we are going to have to box out on every possession and when we don't is when teams beat us," the Big Red coach said.
"(Henrich) can go to his right hand and his left, so he is one of those kids we can't force left. We have to play him straight up. Without being able to slant the defense, he was really quick and took advantage of that to get to the rim," Shellenberger said.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE: Plymouth senior guard Jacob Adams came into the game averaging 24 points per game. But the Spartans' defense, led by junior guard Shawn Perkins-Harris, limited the Big Red star to just six. Junior guard Walker Elliott, averaging 14 per game, was held to seven.
As a team, Plymouth connected on just 19 percent (5-26) from the field in the second half after the two teams played to a 19-19 tie at the intermission.
Perkins-Harris finished with nine points of his own, including six in the first quarter, before fouling out with 2:57 left in the fourth.
"Shawn did a great job of defending," Jakubick said. "We played (as a team) with a lot more intelligence on the defensive end tonight. Intelligence can make up for a lot of things. We just have to get more consistent on the offensive end. That's the key for us."
Plymouth senior Blake Gibson led the Big Red with 13 points.
"Gibson is a really good athlete. When his mental game is there and he steps up and shoots the ball with confidence, he is a really good basketball player," Shellenberger said. "We just need him to keep playing consistently."
In addition to Henrich and Perkins-Harris, St. Peter's also got 11 points from senior guard Caleb Stewart.
UP NEXT: St. Peter's is at cross-town rival Mansfield Christian on Friday in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game. The Flames recorded their first win of the season on Tuesday night, topping East Knox, 38-35.
Plymouth hosts Mapleton on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game. The Mounties knocked off Kidron Central Christian, 51-49, on Tuesday night.