It’s been eight years since the Pella Christian basketball team had a chance to win a state championship, and the senior-heavy Eagles are aiming to avoid the fate that stopped them in their tracks each of the past two seasons at Wells Fargo Arena today.
No. 2 Pella Christian will play to make it to their eighth-ever state championship game against No. 3 Kuemper Catholic of Carroll in the Class 2A Semifinals.
The round of four has not been kind to the boys from Eagle Lane in their previous two visits to state, as the Eagles managed just an average of 34.5 points between the two losses, and dropped those games by an average margin of 18 points.
Assistant Coach Marv Van Wyk tells KNIA/KRLS Sports the team was coming off of a pair of emotional upset wins last year, and this time feels they have yet to play their best basketball at The Well.
“The last two years, we were kind of the underdog coming in and when you win that first game as an underdog, it takes a lot of emotion out of you and it’s hard to get back up for that next game, and be ready to play and be energized,” he says. “So hopefully for this game, we feel like we can play better.”
Pella Christian will have to deal with the defensively-minded Knights, led by 6-7 Matt Dentlinger (like grrr), who leds Kuemper in points (19.4 per game), rebounds (298), and blocks (87). They blew out Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 51-31 to advance.
Eagles state tournament basketball begins at 3:15 on 92.1 KRLS, with opening tip at 3:45. Andrew Schneider and Brad Engbers will have the call.