Vander Waal and Van Wyk

Anna Vander Waal (left) and Reagan Van Wyk (right) both return to the starting lineup for Pella

PELLA — The Lady Dutch will be under new leadership this season with Blaine Forsythe taking over at head coach of the green and white after Pella finished without a winning record for the first time since 2012-13 and just the second time since 2006-07.

Forsythe loses three seniors from last year’s 11-11 squad but will also return two starters in senior point guard Anna Vander Waal and senior shooting guard Reagan Van Wyk.

Having Vander Waal back to run the show should be a big boost for the Lady Dutch as she comes back after averaging 6.8 points on 40.2% shooting from the floor and 29.3% from deep to go with 3.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. She will be joined by backcourt mate Van Wyk who is back after averaging 8.0 points on 43.6% shooting and 29.0% from three along with 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

The backcourt is back intact but Pella will also return a couple of key bench players from a year ago in juniors Kylie Tauke and Mia Warner. Tauke averaged 3.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game off the bench while Warner could see bigger minutes at forward this season.

Senior guard Anna Childerston, sophomore guard Kennedy Van Vark and junior centers Hailey Van Vark and Eliza Van Zee did not see much varsity time last year but will likely step into bigger roles for the Dutch. Hailey Van Vark and Van Zee, both 5-foot-11, will provide some size for what will be a smaller Pella squad.

The Lady Dutch were second in the conference in rebounding a year ago (33.2 per game) despite a smaller lineup so they should be able to attack the glass again. Their senior backcourt and unselfish play should also be a strength for this team.

A couple things to keep an eye on is Pella did lose two of their top three scorers so replacing that production and figuring out who can contribute offensively will be key early on. Also defensively, the Lady Dutch were last in the conference in steals per game at 6.8. Being active on that end, especially with a smaller athletic lineup should lead to more steals and forced turnovers on that end.

Pella was 7-7, good for fifth in the Little Hawkeye Conference a year ago. They will be trying to track down Norwalk, Grinnell, Indianola and DCG, who all finished ahead of them and figure to have solid teams again.

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at cpeters@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.

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