Who: No. 5 Pella (21-2) vs Grinnell (10-13)
What: Class 3A - Substate 6 - Final
When: Monday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Pella is 25-7 against Grinnell since 2007. The Dutch have won the last 15 meetings dating back to 2015. Pella won the two meetings this season 54-39 and 76-46.
By the numbers
Grinnell’s Owen Coffman is fourth in Class 3A in field goal percentage at 67.5%. It’s no secret how good the Pella offense is. They are first in three-pointers made (11) and three-point percentage (39.5%) and are second in points (71.4) and assists (19.1). The Dutch have scored at least 70 points against Grinnell in six of the last eight meetings. Grinnell is 4-6 in their last 10 but have won three in a row. Pella is 9-1 in their last 10 and have won six in a row.
One key player for Pella
Grant Nelson is coming off of a 20-point performance against Newton and has been really good for Pella in their first two postseason games. In this year’s games against Grinnell, Nelson has combined to shoot 6-of-21 (28.6%) from the field and just 2-of-11 (18.2%) from three. Nelson is too good of a player to have those numbers, averaging 17.5 points on 48.7% shooting from the floor and 46.3% from deep, so it’s likely he regains his rhythm against the Tigers this time around. The Dutch have a lot of weapons but when Nelson has his game going, it makes them that much more dangerous.
Keys for Pella
One thing to keep an eye on was that Grinnell was without 6-foot-8 senior forward Owen Coffman for the first two meetings this season. Coffman gives Grinnell a lot of size while leading the Tigers in scoring at 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting a very efficient 67.5% from the field. He will give Pella a different look, one they haven’t faced yet this postseason as an inside presence on both ends of the floor. The Dutch will have to do a good job of boxing him out and it be interesting to see how they attack him defensively. Offensively, can Pella hit shots from outside early to get them in a rhythm. Once they see a couple go down, it’s hard to slow them down. Winner books their trip to Des Moines as the Dutch are looking for their second straight state tournament birth.