The basketball teams from Pella High School opened Little Hawkeye Conference play with a pair of impressive – and very defense-oriented – wins at Norwalk last night.
The Lady Dutch opened the evening with a 39-34 win over the Warriors. Head coach Jerod Garland said while the defense limited Norwalk’s opportunities to score points, his own offense left a bit to be desired.
“The girls did a nice job defensively, but [our] shooting has to get better. We can’t be 4-for-20 in the second half,” said Garland.
“I felt like we got some good looks. It’s just a matter of getting confidence and knocking them down. I love the girls’ effort – can’t fault anything there – we’ve just got to keep working on shooting.”
The Pella girls made up for a 10-of-42 night from the floor by knocking down 17-of-29 free throws.
Regan Cooper hit seven of her last nine shots from the charity stripe, after missing her first four, and led the Lady Dutch with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The win improves the Pella girls to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Little Hawkeye Conference.
Defense was again the name of the game in the boys’ contest, as the Little Dutch swarmed the Warriors and forced 24 turnovers in a 64-45 victory.
“I think where it really began was defense. I think we got a lot of stops, [and] we were able to come down and get into our offense smoothly, because it was a transition situation,” said Pella head coach Mark Core.
“We operate a lot better off of a live ball, than we do off of a dead ball; and I think you saw that in the second half.”
The Little Dutch had just three turnovers and converted on well over half of their field goal attempts in the first half, as they raced out to a 37-16 lead at the intermission.
Norwalk battled back, though, outscoring Pella 15-10 in the third quarter, before the Dutch closed the door late in the final quarter.
Jace Ver Steeg had a game-high 15 points, and Grant Barrick added 14 points in the win – which evened Pella’s record at 1-1.
Both Pella High teams continue conference play on Friday when they play at Knoxville.