The Pella Christian boys game was much closer – even more so than the 62-44 score would indicate. After a strong first quarter, things slowed down in the second period and the Eagles held a 25-12 advantage at halftime.
Newton would outscore Pella Christian 17-10 in the third quarter, and opened the fourth quarter on a 4-0 run to pull within two points, before the Eagles regrouped and pulled away down the stretch to win by 18.
Forward Chase Carlson led Pella Christian in scoring with 17 points, while fellow post player Kyle Nikkel added 16 points and 16 rebounds – helping to carry some of the load left while Alex Branderhorst sat out much of the second half with a foot injury.
“They are our leaders. We don’t want to be just an inside basketball team, because we know that teams can give you trouble and try to shut you down there, but they [Carlson and Nikkel] were good,” said Pella Christian Head Coach Larry Hessing. “Alex [Branderhorst] – we missed him a little bit in the second half with his outside shooting ability, but Chase and Kyle did a great job in there.”
That was Pella Christian Head Coach Larry Hessing, who also reached a major career milestone with the victory, as he notched his 500th career win as a varsity head coach – an accomplishment he is quick to credit to a number of other people.
“I’ve been blessed to coach at three great schools, and I’ve had three great administrations and lots of excellent athletic directors,” said Hessing. “Beyond that, I’ve just had some really good basketball players and athletes; so it’s been a really good time and I’ve been blessed.”
The Pella Christian boys basketball team is now 3-1 in the Little Hawkeye Conference, entering Tuesday’s home game against nearby rival Oskaloosa.