PELLA — Postseason basketball brought an atmosphere missed during the regular season. Students and spectators alike filled the gym at Pella Christian on Thursday night for a Class 2A district semifinal matchup against Cardinal. There was feistiness in the crowd and on the floor as the Eagles flew to a 76-58 victory over the Comets.
Players from both teams were riding off the energy in the building in the first quarter as both defenses locked in to get stops and force turnovers (33 between the two in the game). PC led 10-6 heading to the second.
Play picked up immensely in the next eight minutes of play. The Eagles shot out to an 18-8 run behind threes from Jaedon Huisman, Levi Schelhaas and Lucas Hol. Pella Christian would end up exploding for 28 points in the quarter with Eric Mulder banking in a three from the top of the key at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 38-23 halftime lead.
The Comets were not willing to give up as they used an 8-0 run out of the half to cut it back to single digits. Griffin Greiner would pick up a big fourth foul early for Cardinal in the third and would later foul out in the fourth.
The Eagles finished the quarter strong and held a 10-point lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Whoever made the first run of the fourth might've decided the game. In this case it was a quick 5-0 spirt from PC with a three from Aiden Stoltz and a layup by Mulder that pushed the lead to 15 instead of Cardinal cutting it to single digits.
That lead would hold steady the rest of the game as Pella Christian left with an 18-victory.
The Eagles used their size and athleticism to completely dominate the glass 42-17 including 17 offensive rebounds to match Cardinal’s total rebounds for the game. Blaine Bryant led the Comets with 19 points.
Pella Christian (12-11) had five score in double figures led by a huge night from Mulder who finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, three steals and two blocks. Niko Schirz was just short of a double-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks while Schelhaas had 11 points and six assists and Stoltz added 10 points off the bench.
Cardinal wraps up the season with a final record of 11-10, the first winning record under head coach Mike Strasko.