PEKIN — After a tough three-point loss at Indianola Friday night, the Pella Christian Eagles were looking for a reprieve. Monday night they stepped out of the rugged Little Hawkeye Conference for a non-conference tussle against the Pekin Panthers at Pekin.
The Eagles went behind the arc and found the right stroke as they rained in 13 triples during the contest. Once the three balls began the fall, the Eagles got into the tempo that they like. With Lincoln Vander Molen draining five long balls and Caleb Van Arendonk knocking down three treys, PC opened up a comfortable 53-28 halftime lead and cruised to an 83-47 win.
PC opened the game with a 9-2 run that featured threes from Tysen DeVries, Josiah Vos and Aiden Stoltz. Jaedon Wolver connected on the inside for Pekin’s two points. But the Panthers were not ready to fold the cards as Pekin cut the deficit to 9-8 on a breakaway layup and a pair of free throws by Luke Long and an inside bucket by Wolver.
A pair of triples by Van Arendonk and a three by Vander Molen sparked an Eagle uprising that produced a 26-16 lead after the first eight minutes. Pekin tried to slow the Eagle outburst with a pair of buckets by Long and one each by Wolver and Will Adam, but the Eagles were in their comfort zone.
The Eagles opened the second quarter with three baskets from behind the arc by Vander Molen and one by Dane Geetings along with a steal and a layup by Isaac Kacmarynski and a free throw by DeVries to extend the lead to 20 points at 41-21. The flood gates were open. The Panthers tired to plug the gap with threes by Ben Ehret and Sven Dahlstrom, but it was not enough.
In the third period the Eagles decided to explore the inside game and that resulted in inside baskets from Geetings, Vander Molen, Benny Schirz, Kacmarynski and two from Vos as they increased their lead to 71-41. Ehret attempted to keep the Panthers in the game with three baskets and a free throw in the third period.
“We knew that Pella Christian would present a tall task for us,” Panther coach John Swanson said. “Their speed and the way they push the ball is very difficult to keep up with. Our kids did not back away from the opportunity and gave their best. PC plays in a very touch 3A-4A conference and they are battle tested every night. We have wanted to upgrade our schedule to better prepare us for the postseason and we will learn from this experience.”
The Eagles had ten players dent the scoring column led by three in double digits. Vander Molen led the way with 17 points on the strength of five three-point baskets. Geetings checked in with 15 points and Vos put down 11 points. The Panthers had a pair of double figure scorers in Long with 14 points and Ehert with 12.
“Our offense was good tonight,” PC coach JD Boer said. “The passing game got us going as many open shots were created by crisp passing. We have not always shot the ball well, but tonight we were spot on. Defense has been our calling card and Pekin, to their credit, runs some nice options that challenged us.”
The Panthers are now 6-8 overall and 6-5 in conference play. The Eagles raise their record to 8-4 and 4-3 in Little Hawkeye Conference play. PC will next take on Oskaloosa in Oskaloosa Friday night.
Pella Christian 26 27 18 12 - 83
Pekin 16 12 13 6 - 47
Pella Christian scoring (FG FT-FTA Pts) – Tysen DeVries 2 1-2 6, Isaac Kacmarynski 4 0-0 8, Caleb Van Arendonk 3 0-0 9, Aiden Stoltz 1 0-0 3, Dane Geetings 5 3-3 15, Lincoln Vander Molen 6 0-0 17, Benny Schirz 4 0-1 8, Josiah Vos 5 0-0 11, Kaden Kruid 1 2-3 4, Isaiah Breems 1 0-0 2. Team 32 6-9 81. Three-point goals (13) – DeVries 1, Van Arendonk 3, Stoltz 1, Geetings 2, Vander Molen 5, Vos 1.
Pella Christian rebounds (32) – Vos 7, Stoltz 6, Van Arendonk 4, DeVries 3, Geetings 2, Vander Molen 2, Breems 2, Schirz 2, Kruid 2, Jack Fancher 1, Kacmarynski 1.
Pella Christian steals (9) – Vander Molen 2, Schirz 2, Geetings 1, Stoltz 1, Van Arendonk 1, Kacmarynski 1, Trae Van Maanen 1.
Pella Christian assists (16) – Geetings 5, Van Arendonk 4, Stoltz 2, Vos 1, Vander Molen 1, Fancher 1, Breems 1, Kruid 1.