OSKALOOSA — Spectators jammed in Oskaloosa’s gym on Tuesday for a district final showdown between Pella Christian and Albia. Those fans were not disappointed by as this battle went to overtime with the Eagles falling to the Blue Demons, 58-55.
This one was back and forth from the start as neither team could pull in front by no more than two possessions. Albia was finding success in the mid-range early in a half-court game as Levi Schelhaas’ two late free throws cut the Eagle deficit to 15-12 after one quarter.
The second quarter saw PC really attack the offensive glass (15 offensive rebounds on the night) for second chance points while missing a few point-blank looks as well. Albia would counter with some timely threes from Trey Griffin, Blake Chance and Jackson DeMoss.
Aiden Stoltz would kiss a layup off the glass late in the second to give the Eagles a 32-28 lead at the half.
PC would dominate the first six minutes of the third quarter behind a 14-6 run pushing their lead to as high as 12.
The tide would start to shift at the end of the quarter as Albia got a Brayden Messamaker corner three, his first points of the game, and a Chance layup to spirt a 5-0 run to end the quarter and cut the PC lead to 46-39 heading to the fourth.
The Blue Demons carried the momentum into the fourth with a Chance steal and layup and a deep Messamaker crowd bringing the Albia supporters to their feet and forcing a PC timeout as their lead was slashed to two.
Both teams were searching for consistent offense as two Chance free throws with just under two minutes left gave Albia their first lead since the first quarter. Chance, who was a focus for the PC defense, was shadowed and denied the ball for most of the game before coming up big with nine points in the fourth.
Schelhaas had a nice answer for the Eagles after surrendering the lead as he drove down and attacked the rim for two to give the lead back to PC and force Albia to play the foul game.
Schelhaas made 1-of-2 from the line to give his Eagles a 53-51 lead with 50.3 to go. PC would have some miscommunication defensively, allowing Chance to make a wide open layup to tie the game with 11 seconds.
After a timeout, Schelhaas would drive right and kick out to Jaedon Huisman for three. His shot was off the mark as the game was sent to overtime.
Eric Mulder had a big sequence to start the overtime period, the 6-foot-8 forward had a huge block out of bounds before Lucas Hol would poke the ball loose with Mulder diving on it and calling timeout. Mulder would later score a layup to put PC ahead.
Nathaniel Wynn would tie the game back up with a rainbow floater over the outstretched Mulder.
Albia would hold possession late in the extra period with DeMoss getting fouled with 28.5 seconds left to head to the line for a pressure packed one-and-one. DeMoss, with ice in his veins, splashed both free throws to put the Blue Demons out in front by two.
Schelhaas would come down and go for his vintage turnaround jumper in the paint but it would rattle off with the Eagles fouling again.
Albia’s Messamaker made 1-of-2, keeping PC alive but needing a three with six seconds and counting. Schelhaas would drive left pump fake one defender and just get off the three but it would bounce out and the Eagles would see their season end in a heartbreaking battle.
Chance finished with 16 points to lead Albia to a district championship and a date in the substate final against Des Moines Christian on Saturday while Wynn added 12 points for the Blue Demons.
Schelhaas ended with 15 points on a tough shooting night, going 5-of-17 from the field and 1-of-9 from deep. The Eagles were just 2-of-20 from three as a team.
Mulder had a big double-double with 15 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Pella Christian finishes the season with a 12-12 record. The junior-filled squad will bid farewell to seniors Luke Mulder and Caden Van Dyke.