PELLA — The Pella Christian Eagles picked up a much needed Little Hawkeye Conference win Friday night at the expense of the Newton Cardinals on the home hardwood. The Eagles rode an impressive inside presence in the first half and then moved out beyond the arc in the second half to burn the Cardinals with hot three-point shooting.
Pella Christian raced away to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes of play and did not let up as they finished the first period with a 22-8 lead. Eric Mulder terrorized the Cardinals on the inside with five baskets and a free throw while Jaedon Huisman and Nico Schirz each drained a three and an inside basket.
The Eagles kept the heat on in the second stanza and built a 41-20 lead at intermission. Mulder continued his assault on the basket with three more inside deuces and a pair of free throws to give him a first half total of 19 points and seven rebounds. Levi Schelhaas and Aiden Stoltz each chipped in with a trey and Schirz added a rebound put back and a free throw.
The tone of the game completely changed in the third quarter as both teams went on a three-point shooting frenzy. Both teams put 25 points on the board as Newton buried six threes and the Eagles knocked down five from long range. Lucas Hol closed the period with a pair of triples and Schelhaas, Bennett Spronk and Huisman each added a three. Despite the hot shooting, the Cardinals were unable to gain any ground and PC took a 66-45 lead into the final frame.
The Eagles kept the machine running at peak performance in the fourth period with nice balance of inside-outside shooting and coasted into the winner’s circle with an 83-63 win.
“I was really proud of how our guys responded this week,” Pella Christian coach JD Boer said. “After a disappointing game on Tuesday, we had a couple of great practices and came out with great focus and energy at home. I liked how we established our inside presence early and Eric Mulder had a big first half. Later in the game shots started to open up from the perimeter and we shot really well all night. We also had 20 assists which is a season high. Lucas Hol and others were able to find open teammates to knock down the shots.
“I thought our bench was excellent tonight. They brought great energy and enthusiasm, which is a big deal. We’re continuing to improve and it was great to see it pay off in a big win for our group. We have a big week of three games ahead of us and we are excited to get back at it.”
Balance was a big thing for PC as four Eagles were in double figures and another had eight points. Eric Mulder led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds while Schirz checked in with 14 points and Huisman and Spronk each had 13 points. Hol chipped in with eight points and seven assists.
The Eagles will be at Knoxville on Monday and at Oskaloosa on Tuesday before coming home Friday for the inner-city battle with Pella.
Newton 8 12 25 18 - 63
Pella Christian 22 19 25 17 - 83
Pella Christian scoring (FG FTM-FTA Pts) – Levi Schelhaas 2 0-0 6, Niko Schirz 4 5-7 14, Jaedon Huisman 5 0-1 13, Bennett Spronk 5 1-3 13, Eric Mulder 8 5-6 21, Daniel Andringa 2 0-2 4, Aiden Stolz 1 0-0 3, Lucas Hol 3 0-2 8, Luke Mulder 0 1-2 1. Team 30 12-23 83. Three point goals (11) – Huisman 3, Schelhaas 2, Spronk 2, Hol 2, Schirz 1, Stoltz 1.
Pella Christian rebounds (38) – E. Mulder 9, Schitz 5, Huisman 4, Hol 3, L. Mulder 3, Stolz 2. Caden Van Dyke 3, EJ Fransman 1, Schelhaas 1, Spronk 1.
Pella Christian steals (6) – Spronk 2, E. Mulder 2, Hol 2.
Pella Christian assists (20) – Hol 7, Schelhaas 4, Schirz 2, Huisman 2, Stoltz 2, L. Mulder 1, Andringa 1, Spronk 1.