A solid defensive outing by the Pella High boys basketball team wasn’t enough to compensate for a difficult shooting night, as Grinnell defeated the Little Dutch 48-39 in Thursday night’s Class 3A District Final in Newton. As was expected, the two teams battled evenly through the opening two quarters, with Grinnell holding a slight 25-22 edge at the intermission. The third quarter, however, saw the Tigers open up with a 9-0 run to take a 12-point advantage before Pella pulled back to within 7 points by the start of the fourth quarter. The Little Dutch were able to cut the deficit to 5 points on two separate occasions in the final period, but each time the Tigers would find a way to respond and maintain the momentum; ultimately hanging on for the 9-point win.
“We had some lapses, there’s not question about it. We had a period in the third [quarter] and then another period in the fourth quarter when we couldn’t get anything to go our way. We missed a lot of easy shots,” said Pella High head coach Mark Core. “At the same time, though, I think you do have to give Grinnell credit. They have some athletic kids with long bodies and long arms, and it’s a little tougher [to get a good shot] than what people might imagine. There’s definitely plays that looking back, we wished we would have been able to make, but it didn’t happen and we just have to live with the results of the game.”
Grinnell’s Dillon Gretzky led all scorers with 13 points, but had 11 of those by halftime. Jordan Ely had a big third quarter for the Tigers and chipped in 11 points. For the Little Dutch, Schyler Kane had 12 points – all coming from beyond the three-point arc – to lead the Pella offense, and Grant Barrick notched 11 points in the final game in the green-and-white for both players. Core said it was a tough way for his veteran leaders to end their season.
“They invested a lot in the sport of basketball at Pella High School, and it’s over for them now, so we spent a little bit more time in the locker room consoling them and thanking them for a job well done.”
In all, the Pella boys basketball team will lose ten seniors to graduation. They finish the 2011-12 campaign with a 14-8 overall record and a 9-3 mark in the Little Hawkeye Conference – second behind Grinnell.