After a small break from conference play to sneak in individual games against Gilbert and Eddyville-Blakesburg, the Pella Christian boys and girls basketball teams will return to their usual varsity doubleheader format tonight, when they visit Little Hawkeye Conference foe Newton. Lady Eagles’ head coach Kevin Van Maanen says it’s important his team not look past a Cardinals squad that has made great improvements this season under first-year head coach Brandon Sharp.
“They [Newton] have really improved a lot, and he’s done a great job with those girls. We’re going to be at Newton, so that’s going to be even tougher for us,” said Van Maanen. “Our biggest thing is that we’ve got to get our girls ready for that game and not look past it, because I’m sure they’ll be ready for us.”
The Pella Christian girls are on a five-game win streak and have not lost yet in the Little Hawkeye Conference. Larry Hessing, the Pella Christian boys head coach, says Newton has made a strong push in the second half of the season, and says he’s trying to prepare his team for a Cardinals squad that will be much harder to beat a second time.
“I’m sure Newton has a lot of confidence as they look forward to tonight’s game. We were able to win on our home court, and going to Newton is going to be a real strong test again,” said Hessing. “It seems like there’s a lot of parity in the Little Hawkeye Conference right now, and even though some teams have better records than others, [there are] lots of close games. We know it’s going to be a big test for us and we’ll need to be well-prepared.”
The Eagles are 4-4 against league opponents, with Newton nipping at their heels at 3-6 in the conference. Both games between Pella Christian and Newton will be broadcast live tonight on 92.1 fm KRLS with Eric Gotschall providing the play-by-play, starting at 5:45 p.m.