Pella knew they would have to bring their “A-Game” to beat the Grinnell Tigers in Pella last Friday night and that’s what they got.
The Dutch gave the Tigers their first league setback by winning 76-72.
Pella had three players score in double digits as did the Tigers.
All three of Coach Mark Core’s double digit scorers had 20 points or more in a showcase of offensive basketball at a fast pace.
Despite holding the lead from start to finish there was a tense moment near the end of the game.
Pella held quarter leads of 17-13, 36-29 and 60-51 but they had to be strong at the end as the Tigers never quit.
The Dutch led 73-67 before the Tigers closed to within three on a three point goal by Joseph Schmidt with 1:50 left.
At the 1:10 mark, two-time all-stater Eli Dunne sank a field goal to slice the Pella advantage to 73-72.,
Pella proved strong down the stretch as Jordan Pingel nailed a field goal with 38 seconds left for a 75-72 score.
The Tigers turned the ball over with 20 seconds left. It proved to be the play of the night for the Pella defense.
With 18 seconds left Seth Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one.
That brought more tense moments before the Tigers misfired on their next field goal attempt.
Pingel iced the win by hitting one of two free throws with 4.9 second left for the 76-72 win.
Isaac Naaktgeboren had 24 points for Pella. Of his 24, 18 came in the first half.
Pingel had 23 for the Dutch, nine of them coming in the fourth quarter. Bryce Bortscheller was “Mr. Automatic,” in the third as he had 14 of his 20 points in that quarter alone.
Rounding out the Pella attack were Nathan Clayberg with five points and Garret Jansen four.
Grinnell countered with 24 points from Dunne, 14 by Sam Allen and 13 by Joseph Schmidt.