PELLA — Tough defense and lights out shooting led No. 5 Pella to the century mark in Monday night’s 100-42 win over Centerville in their substate quarterfinal.
“I thought it started defensively,” Pella head coach Derek Schulte said after the win. “Our pressure bothered them a little bit and we were able to create a few deflections and turnovers and get out in transition and then we found the open guy.”
Pella did not waste any time pulling ahead in this one. Their defense led to run outs and many of those run outs led to an open Karl Miller, who exploded for 18 points in the opening quarter as the Dutch sprinted out to a 31-8 advantage after one quarter and didn’t look back from there.
Those first quarter trends continued in the second quarter as Pella grew their lead to 58-14 with the running clock coming into effect as the teams entered halftime.
The starters left their stamp in the third quarter with a couple of highlight plays including a windmill slam from Parker Elder, who finished with 10 points and four assists.
Miller finished his lights out performance with 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the floor and 7-of-9 from three with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“We were fortunate we made a lot of shots and Karl got into a great rhythm from three and we were able to create some separation early and played with confidence for four quarters,” Schulte said.
Pella was able to ride with their bench for the rest of the third and the fourth as they would finish with 13 boys in the scoring column to go with 29 assists on the night.
“It’s contagious,” Schulte said. “It’s with our starters but it’s also with our guys coming in at the end. It’s fun to see them rewarded as well. So to do that in a tournament game is a great thing and the energy that our bench brings is something we really appreciate.”
The Dutch, who picked up their 20th win of the season for the first time since 2016-17, will now host Newton in the next round after beating the Cardinals 73-35 and 69-64 this year. Pella will try to get an always difficult third win over the same team in a season to earn a trip to the substate final.
“I expect a hard-fought game,” Schutle said “The first time we played exceptional over at their place and were able to pull away. The second time they really battled and crawled back in the second half. I expect a hard-fought battle, it’s a tournament-style game, it’s going to be a little more of a grinder and a four-quarter battle.”
No. 5 Pella (20-2) hosts Newton (9-12) on Thursday at 7 p.m. for a substate semifinal matchup.