A pair of local area boys basketball teams turned in a memorable and exciting performance on the hardwood Thursday night, with PCM claiming a 57-49 win over Pella Christian in a game that felt like it should have taken place deeper in the postseason.
The two teams hit the ground running in the Class 2A District Semifinal, shooting over 50 percent each in a high-energy first quarter that ended with PCM on top 13-10. The Mustangs’ offense began hitting on all cylinders in the second quarter, spurred by the inside play of Jordan Van Roekel and Scott Bruxvoort, as PCM’s lead grew to as much as 11 points, and the two teams went to the intermission with PCM on top 28-18.
The Mustangs’ kept the momentum on their side to open the second half, but the Eagles refused to give up, despite PCM’s lead growing to 45-31 entering the final eight minutes of regulation. It felt like all hope was slipping away for Pella Christian, but the Eagles made one final push, spurred by the outside shooting of Dan Hessing. With just over two minutes left to play, the senior guard hit back-to-back three-pointers; and teammate Caleb Van Weelden made a key block at the defensive end to pull Pella Christian to within three points. That’s where the magic ran out, though, as PCM iced the game at the free-throw line, and Pella Christian’s last gasp shots from the outside would no longer go in; giving the Mustangs the 8-point win.
PCM’s Scott Bruxvoort had 22 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Mustangs, with Jordan Van Roekel and Sean O’Conner kicking in 15 and 10 points, respectively, in the victory. The key to the game, though, was likely the Mustangs’ performance at the foul stripe, as they hit 15-of-21 free throws, including the game-winners in the final minute. Pella Christian got a big night out of their starting backcourt, as Dan Hessing and Caleb Morgan each scored 14 points in the loss, with Caleb Van Weelden adding 11 points and 5 rebounds. Pella Christian’s season ends at 13-8 overall.
PCM has now won 16 games in a row, and improves to 20-2 on the season. They’ll face Davis County in a Class 2A District Final on Tuesday night in Ottumwa.