Who: Pella Christian (11-11) vs Cardinal (11-9)
What: Class 2A - District 11 - Semifinal
Where: Pella Christian
When: Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.
These two only have one meeting in the VarsityBound era (since 2006). That came in 2014 with Pella Christian dominating a 70-36 outcome in a postseason battle.
By the numbers
PC should have a big advantage on the boards as they average 33 rebounds to Cardinal’s 22 rebounds per game. The Eagles are 5-4 in games decided by single digits while Cardinal is 7-2 in those situation. If the game does get nitty-gritty down the stretch, the Comets are coming off a buzzer-beater win over Williamsburg and they won’t hurt themselves. They shoot 66.8% from the free throw line as a team only average 10.4 turnovers per game. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
One key player for Pella Christian
Cardinal does not have an answer for Eric Mulder. The Comets’ tallest player is listed at 6-foot-2 while Mulder stands at 6-foot-8. Mulder leads PC with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. He should not only provide a big presence on offense but also on the glass where the Eagles should have a big advantage. Mulder is a great shot blocker but a good free throw shooting team like Cardinal will likely still attack him and try to get him off the floor in foul trouble as Mulder leads the team with 3.1 fouls per game.
Keys for Pella Christian
Stay out of foul trouble and get Cardinal into foul trouble. The Comets tend to run a tight seven-man rotation so any foul trouble would certainly test their depth. On the flip side, if Cardinal can get to line often and slow down the game, that would not favor the Eagles. PC are a team that thrives off of energy and they should have plenty of it in a home playoff game. Look for the Eagles to use big runs off of their defense and length to be the difference in this one.