Basketball team achieves state tournament goal

by Jason Kim/

PC’s varsity boys basketball team completed their regular season with a record of 10-10, but went on to win all three tournament games against West Marshall (74-43), Des Moines Christian (53-47) and South Hamilton (52-30) to advance to the state tournament, where they played Treynor on Monday night, March 9.

For some players, the sub-state victory achieved a life-long goal. “It was great given that we’re seniors and we’ve been working toward this since fourth grade,” said senior Josh Van Gorp. “When we were freshmen we saw seniors then go to the Well and how much fun they had. We wanted that for ourselves.”

Senior Isaiah Gritters felt the same way. “It has been years in the making. All the guys wanted it super bad. It’s a great reward for all the hard work we put in,” he said.

Achieving the team’s goal of making it to the state tournament was not easy. “We were challenged to be consistent through a tough schedule in the Little Hawkeye Conference with many schools which are twice as big as our school,” said head coach Larry Hessing.

Throughout the tough schedule, the team had some memorable games. “DMC was the most memorable game for me,” said senior Ryan Vande Haar. “We knew it was the biggest game, and we lost by 13 (points) earlier, but we played through it and won.”

The team also struggled with injuries, with some key players missing several games. “We have struggled with ankle injuries often – Jack (Vermeer), Josh (Van Gorp), and Dan (Jungling), even though Dan did not miss any game,” Hessing said. “Jase (Amelse) was also out for a few weeks.”

Hessing feels the variety of strengths on the team was an asset. “We had a balance with good inside players and perimeter players. That didn’t allow opponents to stop our offense by just stopping one player because other players could score, too,” he said.

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