The Pella girls and boys basketball teams swept a pair of games in Newton last night for the opening of the Little Hawkeye Conference season. In the girls contest, the Lady Dutch utilized a suffocating full-court press to force several Newton turnovers en route to a 47-26 win, and getting Jerod Garland his first victory as Head Coach.
“It’s nice to do it. The girls really did it with defense tonight,” said Garland. “That’s what we try and build the program on, so it was nice to see that and [to] do it on a night when we didn’t shoot very well.”
Pella’s balanced scoring was paced by nine points from Lindsay Bentzinger, along with eight points apiece from Mackenzie Anthony and Hali Steenhoek, who both had big nights around the basket for the Lady Dutch. Pella is now 1-1 on the season.
In the boys contest, Pella also used a stifling defense to frustrate the Cardinals on their home floor, but it was a strong shooting performance by the Little Dutch the paved the way to an 88-48 blowout. Pella Head Coach Mark Core said he was pleased with the way the team met – and in some cases exceeded – expectations for the game.
“We did expect a good defensive effort, [but] we weren’t expecting necessarily to shoot the ball very well, [and] we probably expected to turn the ball over a little more than we did,” said Core. “I’m real pleased that not only did we come out at play an intense style of defense, but we were moderately successful shooting and handling it, and I think we’re a little ahead of schedule in that regard.”
Pella had four players score in double figures against Newton, including a game-high 20 points from senior Nathan Buchheit. The win starts Pella’s season off at 1-0 with another Little Hawkeye Conference girl/boy doubleheader coming on Friday night in Pella against rival Oskaloosa.