Pella Christian

Pella Christian heads to halftime after Bennett Spronk's (10) late dunk to end the second quarter

ALBIA — It wasn’t going to take much to get Pella Christian’s antennas up for this one. Not only was it opening night for what could be a much-anticipated season for the Eagles, but it was also against a familiar foe in Albia, who beat PC twice last year including the district final. But it was all PC on Tuesday as they rolled to a 82-44 triumph over the Blue Demons.

“I think we just kind of overwhelmed them with some size and athleticism early on and really put them on their heels,” Pella Christian head coach JD Boer said. “I was proud of the way that we played our brand of basketball to just come out and enforce some pressure on them and get some baskets around the rim. Then things started opening up so I was really proud of the way we did that.”

Pella flashed their front court size of 6-foot-5, 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8 early with their defensive activity and traps forcing Albia turnovers or tough shots as they jumped out to an 18-8 first quarter lead.

The physicality would ramp up in the second quarter with the pace slowing down with both teams getting into the double bonus. The Eagles would finish 12-of-17 from the line while the Blue Demons got seven of their 15 second quarter points from the charity stripe in the quarter.

When their wasn’t free throws, it was PC’s Jaedon Huisman bringing the flame thrower. The sweet-shooting lefty got hot in transition as he would go off for 14 points in the quarter behind four threes.

A Bennett Spronk steal and emphatic two-handed slam just before the buzzer would push the Eagle lead to 48-23 at the break.

The second half saw more steals and slams for PC as Boer was able to rotate his bench with all 11 players who played scoring for the Eagles, who finished with 24 bench points.

“I'm almost forced to play 10 because we do have a lot of good guys,” Boer said. “It's just one of those things where you got to bring it because if you don’t, we’ll find somebody who will. It was fun to see impacts from different guys who are in different roles and play their role well tonight and just keep sustaining that energy.”

Pella Christian would cruise to the win with nearly all five of their starters finishing in double figures. Huisman led with all 14 of his points coming in that second quarter. Eric Mulder nearly had himself a triple-double with 12 points, 10 steals and seven rebounds while Aiden Stoltz added 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals. Levi Schelhaas finished with 11 points, four assists and three rebounds while Niko Schirz ended with nine points and five rebounds.

“Obviously we got the big guys inside, they're going to draw a lot of attention,” Boer said of his starting unit. “We're really learning to play off of them and knock down the open shots when they become available. Today, they became available in transition because we ran the floor really well.”

The lengthy and active defense led to 19 steals for Pella Christian on the night. But Boer still knows there is work to do on that end of the court as well as offensively, where they finished with 18 turnovers.

“I liked our energy and our aggressiveness,” Boer said. “I'd like to be a little bit stronger with the ball, we were careless at times. I thought we weren't really disciplined in our half court defense. I thought we got a little bit out of form to try to get steals instead of being really solid. But we're excited to get after the Little Hawkeye Conference and see what we can do.”

Pella Christian (1-0) travels to Norwalk (0-1) on Friday at 7:45 p.m.

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

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