The Pella Christian High School varsity girls’ basketball team had a high number of players when practice began, but the numbers dwindled to 17. Head Coach Brad Engbers knows this will be plenty of talent – all of whom are dedicated to the sport.
“We knew that there was the possibility that we would lose a few of those girls as they evaluated the time commitment and their passion for the game of basketball,” Engbers said. “Unfortunately, a few girls decided that the cons outweigh the pros so our roster is now down to 17 players for both teams. We’re going to be OK though! We still have a group of players that enjoy the game and are looking forward to fun and success on the court!”
Key returning players include Allison Van Gorp, who earned first team All Conference Honors as a sophomore. Engbers is looking forward to seeing what she can do this year.
Avery Baugh and Chloe Morgan have two years of varsity experience each, so we expect some positive production and leadership from their positions. Adrie Fransman returns from a tough injury last year, and both she and Kara Van Wyk provide solid leadership and model work ethic for younger players.
“We are excited about a good size class of freshman girls and we’re looking forward to seeing them develop as the season progresses,” Engbers added.
Wins and losses are secondary to the team’s most important goals, which are to enjoy being around each other and having fun.
“Of course we want to be competitive, and we will be, but there is a lot more to playing high school sports than championship,” Engbers said. “Our mettle is getting tested right now. It would be easy to despair after losing a few team mates, but one of our goals is to show resilience and a positive outlook and attitude regardless of the circumstances. One of my goals every season is for team members to look back at their experience that year and be glad they were part of the team!”
The team kicked off its season Friday, Nov. 22, with a tough 49-40 loss to Van Meter. The Eagles play tonight (Nov. 26) against Montezuma, followed by ADM Tuesday night. Things get no easier for the Eagles, as Dec. 6, they travel across town to face the Lady Dutch.
“The atmosphere that our community creates around that game is positive and fun!” Enbers said. “There are several good teams in the Little Hawkeye Conference that will pose significant challenges. Grinnell and DCG are most recently the teams to beat. Norwalk and Indianola also have some good, young and talented players. We will have to be ready to play every night!”
Key nights for the Eagles this year include Homecoming on Jan. 31. Though the team is not as deep as Engbers had hoped, the good news is everyone will get some time in the game.