PELLA — The Pella Christian Eagles started what they hope to be a return trip to the state tournament on Friday night as they host Cardinal for a district quarterfinal showdown on Eagle Lane. The Eagles would end up making quick work of the Comets in a 79-41 blowout win.
“I really liked how we shot the ball,” Pella Christian head coach JD Boer said. “14 threes is really nice. I was proud of our guys for how we shot the ball tonight and just the energy level that we had, our togetherness and I thought our assist numbers were pretty high. I also felt like our rebounding was good so that was good to see.”
If there was going to be any rust from the eight days between games, Pella Christian didn’t show it as they came out to an 11-0 start over the first couple of minutes with an Aiden Stoltz corner three getting the game started.
The Eagles had a hot-shooting night from beyond the arc but also did well defensively forcing turnovers and sharing the ball as Tysen DeVries would drive baseline before finding Stoltz on the backdoor cut to make it 24-11 in favor of PC after the first.
Threes by Stoltz and Lincoln Vander Molen made the lead balloon to 20 at 37-17 midway through the second while a dominating effort on the glass that saw the Eagles grab 18 offensive rebounds helped them go ahead 48-20 at the half.
It was more of the same in the second half as the running clock became a factor and both sides were able to empty their bench in the fourth quarter.
PC would shoot 48.4% from the floor on the night but were a sizzling 14-of-32 (43.8%) from three even though they average 7.4 three-pointers per game at a 31.3% clip.
“I really believe we're a good three-point shooting team,” Boer said. “I don't know if the numbers have always reflected that, but hopefully this is kind of a springboard for us moving forward to shoot the ball with confidence. Aiden got it going but a couple of other guys also made a couple of threes tonight too which was good to see.”
The Eagles had 11 boys get on the scoresheet led by Stoltz who had 17 points, four rebounds and eight assists. Dane Geetings added 11 points, two rebounds and four steals while DeVries finished with 10 points and two assists.
For DeVries and starting forward Josiah Vos, it was their first games back after missing the last two games of the regular season due to injuries. They were able to return to the lineup but did not have to play heavy minutes due to the blowout.
“I thought they did a nice job of finding their rhythm,” Boer said. “Not necessarily forcing anything but letting it come to them and doing what they do best. I thought they adapted well to the level of physicality, which you're always a little worried about how they're going to respond to that, but both those guys did an excellent job.”
Pella Christian will now hit the road to face off against Wilton, who they beat 61-56 on the road back in December in a non-conference meeting. The sequel should set up to be another outstanding game.
“I expect a great game and a great challenge,” Boer said. “They have a really nice team and their big man is excellent and one of the leading scorers in the state. He is outstanding, does a little bit of everything and they surround him with a couple other really nice players. We'll have to be focused in as we dive into our scouting report here in the next couple of days, but I'm excited about it and I think our guys are too. We kind of know a little bit about Wilton but we've certainly changed since we played in December and they have too so we'll see how it goes.”
Pella Christian (13-9) travels to Williamsburg on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to take on Wilton (18-4) in a district final matchup with the winner going to the substate final.
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