Katie Vander Molen has been a four-year starter for the Pella High girls basketball team. Kiara Bradley and Ciara Buchheit played as sophomores and started as juniors and seniors. Those three, plus Kloe Lambert, are gone to graduation.

That group helped Pella to the state championship game last year and the final four this season, but Coach Jerod Garland says it’s a memory from their sophomore year that really speaks to what they’re all about.

“We lost by 35 to Carlisle (during the regular season) and then in sub-state we lost in triple overtime to them. These girls really believed they were going to win that and that they could. These girls were geared up and they’re just gamers and competitors. It’s been a fun ride and a great year. Our fans and parents were great and the coaching staff was a lot of fun.”

In addition to the loss of the four seniors, Garland will be losing assistant Coach Wade Van Vark, who’s stepping down to spend more time with family.

Returning contributors from this year’s Lady Dutch team will be Emily Holterhaus, Chloe Van Vliet, Annika Pingel and Kara Wichhart.