by Bella Baugh
Pella Christian Eagles girls basketball came to an end with a 50-66 loss against Van Buren in the Class 2A Regional Semi-Final game. Although this may not have been the end the team was hoping for, they overall had a great season with an overall record of 12 wins and 11 losses and went 7 – 6 in their conference.
According to head coach Brad Engbers, the small size of the team was the biggest hurdle they faced this season. “One of our biggest challenges was the number of girls in our program, and then a few of them getting injured. There were several nights where six or seven girls played a full JV game, leaving us with limited players for the varsity games,” he said.
Fortunately, the team faced very few incidents of sickness in regard to the restricted number of bodies available. “When you have limited numbers it can be tough to duplicate the intensity that we face in games in practice,” said Engbers. “Our younger players did a great job of stepping up in practice, and truly gave their best effort… but when you are playing ranked teams in 4A, it is tough to practice that intensity. Fortunately we had a group of senior boys on our scout team who occasionally helped us out in practice.”
Although there were a few challenges along the way, the season brought along with it many pleasant memories, like some signature wins against the very good Pella, Knoxville, and Indianola teams. “A highlight from this season would definitely be beating Pella…that game was awesome! The seniors haven’t beat Pella since 7th grade, and that was just an exciting moment. I would also say coming back 16 points and beating Indianola,” said senior Emma Huisman.
Engbers got in on his fair share of memories as well. “The biggest highlight for me was witnessing a group of girls having fun, and learning to play a game for each other and not just with each other.” He also enjoyed watching the team take part in intense drills where everyone’s competitive nature came out and they were able to push each other to get better.
Overall the Eagles were able to give it their all this season, and ended the year playing their best basketball with a more accentuated level of team chemistry than before. “We went on a little run at the end of the season where I thought we were playing our best basketball–it was fun to watch,” said Engbers.
“The season was great this year. We had really good team chemistry and we all enjoyed playing the game together as a team,” commented junior Kara Van Wyk.