Anna Childerston

Pella's Anna Childerston floats a layup against Knoxville

PELLA — Taking the court for the last time in the calendar year, No. 11 (4A) Pella were hoping to keep their momentum going and enter the break on a high note. They did just that by picking up their fifth straight win, third in blowout fashion, as they topped Knoxville 70-21 on Tuesday.

“Our main focus for tonight was to set the energy on the defensive end,” Pella head coach Blaine Forsythe said. “We knew that would lead to our offense and we really wanted to get out in transition and push that pace and our girls did a great job of setting that tone really from the opening tip.”

Right from the start, the pace was quick for both teams getting up and down the court. But it was Pella who would execute at a higher rate with their pace on both ends. While Knoxville struggled against the press, it was Anna Childerston cashing in on the other end with three three-pointers in the opening quarter to help the Lady Dutch jump out in front 20-5.

Pella continued to apply their pressure and get easy runouts in the second quarter but it was their bench which continued the offensive production with Kylie Tauke and Abby Warner combining to score 15 of Pella’s 17 points in the quarter, all off the bench to pull ahead 37-11 at the half.

“Our bench has continued to be really, really good,” Forsythe said. “Different girls have contributed off the bench. I think of Hailey, Mia, Abby and Kylie all have had games where they've really produced offensively and defensively and that is huge for our team. It makes us tough to scout. It makes us tough to defend when we have so many girls contributing in so many different ways.”

It seemed like it was someone different stepping up all night as the third quarter belonged to Kennedy Van Vark, who ripped off all nine of her points in the third. With a running clock, Pella would then hold the Panthers scoreless in the fourth quarter to finish off the win.

Knoxville was held to 26% shooting from the floor and was 0-of-9 from three-point range while struggling with turnovers (30) against Pella’s pressure.

Brittany Bacorn would finish with six points, 10 rebounds, one assist and three steals for Knoxville while Emma Dunkin added six points and four rebounds.

Pella was balanced across the board with 10 girls getting in the scoring column while registering 19 steals as a team. Childerston and Tauke both had 11 points while Van Vark and Warner both added nine points.

“We're starting to see what an extra pass will do,” Forsythe said. “We're starting to see how our defense will lead to our offense. We're really excited about the growth that we've made from our first game until now. We’ll use winter break as an opportunity to focus on us and just continue to get better at the little things.”

No. 14 (4A) Pella (6-2, 2-1 LHC) and Knoxville (3-4) both enter the winter break and will be back in action in January.

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

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