Pella Christian Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Larry Hessing is going into his 27th season at the helm of the Eagles. As a math teacher, he always enjoys the challenge of fitting a system to a team – making what the team does match the personnel and watching the players do the best they can every year.
The 2019-20 season outlook looks good for the Eagles, as they return three starters from last season’s 14-9 team. Last year ended on a down note, with Van Meter besting the Eagles by two points in a substate game.
Returning starters for the Eagles include Josh Van Gorp (the leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago) Dan Jungling and Jack Vermeer. Others returning for the Eagles are strong bench players Keean Cadwell, Isaiah Gritters, Ryan Vande Haar, Bryant Agre and Jase Amelse.
The first night of practice for the team was Monday, Nov. 18. However, through summer ball and camps, Hessing says he can tell there are many players ready to step up to fill vacancies and otherwise contribute to another strong Pella Christian basketball season.
The four seniors lost included two starters and two substitutes. Vande Haar will step into four and Cadwell will step in at three. The rest will fill out the depth of Eagle roster.
The Eagles open the season at Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (ADM) on Dec. 3. Following that Friday night game, they will have three more the following week, including the first meeting with Pella Community High that Monday.
Pella will be one of many talented teams in the Little Hawkeye Conference that will present the Eagles a challenge. Norwalk and Oskaloosa both have division one collegiate talent on their respective rosters. Hessing adds that Norwalk will bring back a lot of depth this season. Though he singled out Norwalk and Oskaloosa, he meant no disrespect to the rest of the conference. There will be no easy nights in the LHC for the Eagles.
With tough competition every night on the schedule, including non-conference games, Pella Christian players know they can compete every night. They are eager to get out on the court.
“My guys have high expectations for themselves,” Hessing said. “They’re excited about the season.” Hessing and his coaching staff will work to help the boys bring it all together.