'Beep, beep'Pella speeds away from Washington for a 60-43 victory
In the Looney Tunes cartoon series, when Wile E. Coyote came close to catching The Road Runner, a safe would often fall on the coyote’s head and the lanky bird would speed away.
Washington found itself in the same situation on Tuesday night. The Demons led most of the first quarter of a non-conference game with visiting Pella, and the game was tied with two minutes remaining in the first half. But then the Little Dutch sped off and left Washington in a cloud of dust.
Pella used a 28-6 run over the game’s next 11 minutes to pull away from the Demons for a 60-43 victory.
“They just kind of took it to us,” Washington senior Kyle Roder said.
Washington senior Justin Hoffman put back a missed shot to tie the game at 22 with 2:23 left before halftime. But the Little Dutch scored the final six points of the half to take a 28-22 lead into the locker room.
Pella (10-4) turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter and out-scored Washington 19-6 in the frame.
“We tried to be a little more intelligent in our full-court press and not allow passes over the top,” Pella head coach Mark Core said.
Freshman Noah Clayberg’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter extended Pella’s lead to 50-28.
“I don’t know what happened in the second half,” Roder said. “We just came out sluggish.”
Junior Jordan Pingel scored 13 points to lead a balanced Pella scoring effort, and Clayberg added 12. Sophomore Isaac Naaktgeboren had 10 points. Junior Nathan Clayberg chipped in eight points, and junior Bryce Bortschellar had seven.
Hoffman scored 13 points to lead the Demons, and junior Alex Coker had 12. Roder made three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.
Washington (4-10) had a strong start to the game. Coker and Hoffman nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Demons a 6-0 lead after one minute of play, and after Pella came back to tie the score at 8-8, Hoffman and Roder hit back-to-back baskets to put the Demons up 12-8.
“We came out strong,” Roder said. “We made a lot of our shots in the first half, which we haven’t been doing so far this year.”
Clayberg sank a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and then Pingel hit a running 30-footer at the buzzer to give the Little Dutch a 14-12 lead after eight minutes of play.
Washington never led again, but stayed close until the Little Dutch zoomed away in the third quarter.
“I thought they just played harder than we did in the second half,” Washington head coach Bryce Smeins said. “They played harder on offense and tougher on defense and rebounded better. They took the game to us in the third quarter, and that was really the ballgame. Our guys played hard down the stretch in the last five minutes, but we’ve got to play hard for 32 minutes with an edge to beat a team like Pella.”