OSKALOOSA — It came down to the end as Oskaloosa sported their offensive output of the season against a tough Pella Christian squad. Late free throws down the stretch were the difference as Oskaloosa fell 63-59 to Pella Christian on Tuesday.
“This was kind of a crazy game,” Pella Christian head coach JD Boer said. “It was back and forth for much of the first half. We came out of halftime and put together a nice third quarter but weren't able to sustain our lead well. Credit Oskaloosa for competing and chipping away at our lead. I was proud of how we responded in the last few minutes to make a few key plays and knock down some free throws to seal the deal.”
The Osky offense looked good from the start as the ball was moving well and four different starters scored as they handled an eight-point quarter from PC’s Eric Mulder to take a 16-13 lead after one quarter.
The Eagles would own the second quarter by gaining the lead thanks to a 9-2 run to start the quarter as Osky kept moving the ball well but PC’s length became a factor in the passing lanes and at the rim.
A pair of late free throws from Keaton Flaherty cut PC’s lead to 32-26 at the break.
It looked like PC might run away with it in the third quarter as they attacked the glass hard and got second chance points on their way to building a 46-33 lead with 2:36 left in the third.
Oskaloosa wouldn’t back down as they ended the final two-plus minutes on a 8-2 run with a pair of buckets from Charlie North and a three from David Nelson to make it a seven-point game going to the fourth.
The Indians continued to ride that momentum as they chopped away at the deficit before grabbing the lead late in the fourth.
The two teams exchanged leads and buckets down the stretch. Mulder’s post score put the Eagles ahead 57-55 with a little over a minute left. Mulder then came up with a big block on the other end as Osky had to foul.
Levi Schelhaas made back-to-back clutch free throws before a quick Flaherty layup made it 59-57 with 14.9 left.
Osky would foul Schelhaas again and he proceeded to make both free throws again to make it a four-point game. A quick Carson Genskow layup got it back to two again but they would once again foul Schelhaas with 3.9 seconds left.
Schelhaas iced the game by hitting both free throws again to give Pella Christian the 63-59 win.
“It's a good growing experience for us to find a way to win a close game there at the end,” Boer said. “I thought we did a really nice job throughout the game on the offensive glass. We need to get back to work on our defensive fundamentals, so we're excited to get back to practice this week to make sure that we can fix some of the issues we're having on that end of the floor. Looking forward to a fun game against Pella on Friday.”
The Eagles got huge free throws from Schelhaas and Lucas Hol in the fourth. The two had off shooting nights, combining to go 1-of-13 from the field but were clutch at the line in the fourth, going a perfect 8-of-8.
Mulder led the way with 19 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Schelhaas added 11 points and five assists while Jaedon Huisman chipped in 10 points.
The Indians showed a lot of fight and had their best offensive output of the season. Flaherty led the team with 15 points while Nelson had 11 points and Darryl Fane and Genskow both had 10 points.
Oskaloosa (1-8, 0-6 LHC) gets some time off before traveling to Mount Pleasant (5-6) on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. Pella Christian (5-6, 3-3 LHC) returns home to try to knock off No. 1 (3A) Pella (8-0, 4-0 LHC) on Friday at 7:45 p.m.
*Oskaloosa stats were not available at time of print