In what will likely go down as one of the most impressive basketball games Marion County has ever seen, the Pella Christian Eagles topped the Pella High Little Dutch 84-83 in double overtime on Friday, Dec. 6.
“Though the game was not perfectly played, both teams played with great effort,” Pella Christian Head Coach Larry Hessing said. “I’m proud of how our players continued to put errors in the past and of how they just kept battling. Sometimes the outcome didn’t look good for us, but our guys found a way to pull out a win.”
“This was an excellent game between two good teams,” Pella Head Coach Derek Schulte added. “While we are disappointed in the result—I was proud of our effort. We competed hard and will learn from this tough loss. We had five players in double figures and Josh Warner played an excellent all-around game.”
Both teams came out swinging in the early going, with Pella taking a 16-9 early lead. It was apparent the boys were evenly matched as Josh Van Gorp kept dominating under the basket for the Eagles while John Oltman rained threes for the Little Dutch. Pella was able to leave the first quarter with an 18-15 lead.
The fast pace continued in the second quarter with defenses for both teams limited the inside game. Both adapted to improve their outside shooting and Pella was able to keep a lead of 27-23 with about 4:24 left.
It was around that time that Dan Jungling of the Eagles caught fire to complement Van Gorp’s dominance. The half ended with the Little Dutch up 34-32, as Pella had more shooters and showed a little more strength.
The third quarter showed the ability of these Little Hawkeye Conference teams to keep anyone close. While the Little Dutch had a slight lead with around 3:33 left in the third, Pella Christian went up by a point, 55-54 before the fourth quarter.
Tied at 60 with 4:40 left in the game, Pella’s defense stepped up and Logan Shetterly got a big steal. He was fouled as he was putting up the shot, which enabled him to add four for the Dutch with 2:00 left. Pella Christian fought back and regulation ended with a 66-66 tie.
In the first overtime, the Little Dutch went up by three with a field goal by Oltman which sent the raucous crowd into an even greater frenzy. Pella was up 75-70 with 32 seconds left in the overtime period.
That’s when Pella Christian’s Bryant Agre hit two before being fouled. He then hit a free throw to pull within two points. With 22 seconds left, Pella missed a free throw of its own. The ball landed in the hands of Pella Christian’s Jack Vermeer who hit a layup as time expired to send us into a second overtime with a 75-75 score.
The second overtime was more of the same, free throws and threes for both teams. Pella Christian had a slight, one-point lead as time expired to give them the 84-83 victory.
“I knew we had to get back on defense,” Agre said. “We tried to treat this as a regular game, but we know it’s special. It was a great team win, we love competing against Pella, they’re a great team.”
Van Gorp led all scorers with 23 total points for the Eagles, 13 rebounds, an assist and two blocks. Jungling had 16 points, a rebound, two assists and three steals; Ryan Vande Haar had 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks; Vermeer had 12 points, three rebounds, four assists and a block; Agre and Keean Cadwell each had nine points; Isaiah Gritters had two points.
For the Dutch, Treyton Sturgeon had 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks; Oltman had 16 points, 10 rebounds, an assist and a steal; Warner had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists; Shetterly had 14 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals; Ryan Mace had 10 points, three rebounds and a steal; Grant Nelson had six points and Warren Page had four.