After an exciting back-and-forth quarter to start the game, the Pella Christian boys’ defense stiffened and the Eagles pulled away to defeat Pleasantville 67-51 in the first round of the Class 2-A, District 12 Boys Basketball Tournament. Pella Christian was led by an impressive night from Kyle Nikkel, who scored 28 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“Kyle was doing some of the things that we’ve been trying to get him to do all year, and that’s get the ball to the hole,” said Pella Christian Head Coach Larry Hessing. “He was in a zone. He was hitting the mid-range jump shot as well, and he kind of took the team on his shoulders. We really looked good offensively because we were able to get the ball inside.”
Forwards Alex Branderhorst and Chase Carlson also chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively for Pella Christian. Pleasantville Head Coach Tom Wilkens said adjustments by Pella Christian in the second half changed the course of the game, and also had high praise for Nikkel.
“Their defense picked up in the second half, whereas ours didn’t; and they got after it,” said Wilkens. “Boy, they’ve got athletes too. We just had a tough time guarding their kids. [Kyle] Nikkel was an animal inside. He’s tough inside, but he’s quick too and he can take you off the dribble. We had a tough time guarding them, and that was the key to the game.”
The Trojans were led by Jacob Schletzbaum, who tallied 19 points and snagged 6 rebounds for the Trojans. Pleasantville ends their season with a 10-11 record, while Pella Christian improves to 15-6 overall, going into tonight’s second round meeting at Albia. You can hear that game live tonight on 92.1 fm KRLS with Eric Gotschall providing the call, starting at 6:45 p.m.; with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m.