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Fourth quarter run pushes Lady Dutch past Eagles, 51-38

Feb. 5—PELLA — The first meeting was a lopsided victory for the Lady Dutch. The sequel played much closer with Pella Christian having a chance in the fourth quarter before No. 13 (4A) Pella ended the game on an 11-1 run to win it 51-38.

"We really wanted to stay composed tonight," Pella head coach Blaine Forsythe said. "Basketball is a game of runs and I thought our girls did a good job of responding to that. Super proud of them for stepping up to that challenge. These exact moments are what we want to be in as we push towards the end of the season and learning how to execute in those high pressure moments."

The Pella pressure was doing it's job early forcing turnovers and leading to free throws on the other end as the Lady Dutch jumped in front 9-3 midway through the first. PC responded well after their first timeout as freshman forward Rachel Kacmarynski scored seven points and was active in the opening quarter. Despite that, Pella's Abby Warner was equally as active on the defensive end and causing havoc she she finished off the first quarter with a euro-step layup to make it 17-7 Pella.

The Eagles caught their breath between quarters and started breaking Pella's pressure and attacking the paint. The result was an 8-0 run to pull within two at 17-15. This time it was Pella's turn to respond and they did by scoring the next nine points after a Sophia Reynolds wing three. Pella ended up taking a 30-20 lead going into halftime.

The third quarter played tight and set up the fourth quarter with Pella holding an eight point lead. That lead got cut to three with 6:40 to go after a Chloe Snyder three and a Rachel Kacmarynski layup.

The game looked up for grabs but the Pella defense shut the water off after that with threes by Kennedy Van Vark and Warner fueling an 11-1 Lady Dutch run to end the game and close out a seventh straight win by Pella over their crosstown rivals.

"We kind of got in our own way a little bit in the fourth quarter with just trying to force some passes that weren't really there," Pella Christian head coach Brendon Foughty said. "Playing pretty much six girls for a four quarter game, those mistakes are unfortunately going to happen when you're exhausted that much. We're going to continue to learn from that, our kids can taste that we're getting close. We're right there and we've just got to keep getting better and keep taking it day by day. But today was a huge step in the right direction for us."

Pella was led by their defense which forced 23 steals and 31 PC turnovers on the night. They ended up shooting 31% from the field and 6-of-20 from three. Warner led the way on both ends of the floor with 16 points, five rebounds, one assist and seven steals while Tristan Gordon added 10 points, five assists and two steals.

"Abby does such a great job of being a leader along with all of our other seniors," Forsythe said. "The effort that she gives, her voice and that energy is just infectious and she sets the tone for her teammates. Really proud of how Abby gets her hands on the basketball. It's got to be a nightmare to try to bring the ball up against her and I got to believe most teams are figuring out ways how they can get her off the ball. She's a great foundation for our defense that we want to run."

PC ended up handling the rebounding battle 48-32 and grabbed 10 steals but they also were limited to 32% shooting overall and 2-of-13 from three. Rachel Kacmarynski had a huge game as the freshman ended with a double-double of 20 points, 20 rebounds and three steals.

"Her physical skills are obvious when you watch her but I think the thing that's most impressive is that she just never quits," Foughty said of Kacmarynski. "Unless she's in foul trouble, she really doesn't come out of the game for us. She's learned really well to stay out of foul trouble and that's helped us but she's just the Energizer Bunny. She goes and goes and goes and it never looks like she ever has a dip in energy."

Pella Christian also celebrated senior night on Friday. Although they sport a very young team this season, the Eagles were still able to honor their two seniors Karis Fikkert and Amelia Boender.

"Karis and Amelia have been awesome leaders for us," Foughty said. "Amelia has unfortunately had an injury recently and it just shows her character that she continues to be here for her teammates and be at practice every day and take on a manager type role. That's just the kind of kid she is. Karis is a kid that has worked extremely hard to make herself a varsity level basketball player. She's had some really good games for us this season and she's just put in a ton of work and has really inspired a lot of our team just with the dedication she's shown to basketball over the years."

No. 13 (4A) Pella (14-4, 7-2 LHC) will head to No. 9 (4A) Norwalk (14-4, 6-3 LHC) on Monday at 6:15 p.m. while Pella Christian (7-11, 3-7 LHC) hosts No. 13 (3A) Chariton (17-2) in a non-conference matchup on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at cpeters@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.