The Pella boys’ basketball team will be making its first trip to the state tournament since 2007. The Dutch downed fourth ranked Norwalk 56-47 in a sub-state game played at Southeast Polk Monday night, to earn the state tournament berth.

Pella put on a three-point shooting clinic in the first quarter. The Dutch got five three-pointers from four different players as they raced to a 19-10 lead at the end of the first stanza.

Pella opened its biggest lead of the game at 21-10 on a basket by Josh Pringle just seconds into the second quarter. Norwalk stormed back scoring the next 12 points to grab a 22-21 advantage. The teams each scored two baskets in the final two minutes of the half, and were deadlocked at 26-26 at the break.

The two teams traded the lead for the first five minutes of the third quarter. A hustle play by Kyle Newendorp that ended with him draining his only three-pointer of the season gave the Dutch a lead that they didn’t surrender the rest of the game. Pella ended the third quarter up 41-36.

Norwalk fought back and tied the game at 43-43 with just less than six minutes left. Nathan Buchheit answered with a quick bucket that put Pella back in front to stay. Chris Bandstra took it at the Warriors down in the paint and scored the next two baskets of the game as the Dutch extended their lead to 49-43. Blaine Forsythe hit five of six free throws in the final minute and a half as Pella pulled away for the nine point win.

Garrett Crall scored 15 first half points for Norwalk and was the main scoring punch for the Warriors. Pringle drew the defensive assignment of guarding Crall in the second half and was able to hold him to just two points.

“At halftime Coach Core talked about Crall hurting us in the first half,” commented Pringle. He wanted me to step up and shut him down in the second half. We take pride in our defense and I knew it was my turn to respond to the challenge. I thought overall, we played great team defense. Chris, Matt and Kyle all did a great job inside on Logan.”

While defense was the catalyst to the victory it was the unselfish play on the offensive end that once again led Pella to victory. “We work the ball so that we can get great shots,” continued Pringle. “We don’t care who scores. We don’t care about stats. We just wanted the win and the trip to the state tournament. We aren’t done yet. Now we want to win it all.”

The unselfish play showed up in the final statistics as the Dutch had three scorers in double digits. Buchheit led Pella with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Forsythe and Bandstra each had 11 points and three boards. Forsythe also had five assists.

Pringle scored eight points and grabbed four boards. Matt Dowie chipped in four points and four assists. Newendorp, Matt Meyers and Deckar Lynch rounded out the scoring with three points apiece. Newendorp also had five rebounds.

Coach Core commented, “Our guys played really hard at the defensive end of the court. That’s what we’ve focused on.”

He added, “We didn’t force turnovers, so it became a grind it out kind of defense.”

“It’s feels good getting back to state,” Core replied.

More Facts

Pella is the number five seed at the state tournament and will face fourth seeded Forest City in a first round game on Tuesday, March 9th at 6:35 p.m. The winner will advance to the semi-finals and play the winner of Mount Pleasant and Western Dubuque.

This is the 13th trip to the state tournament for the Little Dutch. Pella will be making its eighth trip to state under the direction of coach Mark Core. The Dutch won it all in 2002 and again in 2003.

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