One of the strongest teams Larry Hessing has ever sent to the state basketball tournament will hope to avoid an early exit against a team they’ve already defeated this season in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

No. 2 Pella Christian is set to begin what they hope is a special week in Des Moines when they take on No. 7 Van Meter at Wells Fargo Arena.

Pella Christian toppled the Bulldogs 61-53 on February 4th. Head Coach Larry Hessing says it was a difficult matchup, as the Eagles were coming off of an exhausting homecoming thriller with Grinnell and found themselves in hostile territory for what was a second-half comeback victory.

Hessing says they learned a lot about defensive-minded Van Meter, a group giving up the 4th-fewest points per game in Class 2A (43.75).

“Van Meter likes to play some zone, they have a couple of six-foot-eight guys, they’ve got guys who can shoot, they’ll play a little bit of full court pressure just to make you go sideways instead of running them up and down the floor,” Hessing says. “But then you have to be able to attack a zone.”

Pella Christian’s first-round state tournament game begins at 10:30, with pregame starting at 10:00 this morning on 92.1 KRLS,, and the free KRLS mobile app. Andrew Schneider and Brad Engbers will call the action.

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