NORWALK, Ia. — David Kacmarynski emerged from the locker room Saturday evening nibbling on a cookie. He and the rest of the Pella Christian boys’ basketball team brought a plateful on the hour-long bus ride with the intentions of eating them in celebratory fashion.
“That was a big motivator for us coming in,” said Kacmarynski, a senior. “We didn’t want to have to freeze them until Tuesday. We came out with something to play for.”
Pella Christian beat Norwalk, 72-59, on Saturday night. The victory is the Eagles’ sixth straight and the 600th career win for longtime coach Larry Hessing. He is just the 13th Iowa coach to achieve the feat.
“We played really good basketball,” Hessing said. “Norwalk scored some points near the end, but our defense was really good. They have some good players, but overall, we just kept making plays.”
The game belonged to the Eagles (7-1) from tipoff onward. They led 29-23 at halftime and by as many as 17 in the second half. They outscored Norwalk (5-5) in each quarter, but couldn’t quite piece together one big run to put the game out of reach.
Instead, Pella Christian inched further away with each quarter. Kacmarynski was vital in the effort, scoring 10 of his 24 points in the first half to help the Eagles stave off the sharpshooting of Luke Vaske and the paint presence of Tyler Endres.
“Sometimes, you just kind of feel it,” Kacmarynski said. “I feel like they played too close to me at times. I was able to get drives going. Other times, the ball just bounces your way. Tonight was one of those nights.”
Kacmarynski’s 24 paced all scorers on the night. Levi Jungling, the Eagles’ second-leading scorer entering Saturday, added another 16, including 14 in the second half. Four other Eagles provided at least five points, and all but one who played scored.
“It wasn’t one huge run or anything,” Hessing said. “We just kept making some plays, and when you make consecutive plays, we get those small five-point runs.”
The team-wide effort was crucial, as Norwalk’s Vaske ended up with 20 points of his own — 13 of which came in the second half. Endres added another 13 off the bench and star freshman Bowen Born scored 10, though six came in the final frame.
Afterwards, the Eagles paraded into their locker room, where the cookies were unveiled. It was the athletic director’s idea, Kacmarynski said, and on this night, the treat, and all they represented, were extra sweet.
Pella Christian (72) – Howerzyl 5, Jungling 16, Pringle 9, Kacmarynski 24, Veenstra 8, Vander Molen 2, Flagel 6, Haveman 2. Also played – Roose. Totals: 26, 17-22.
Norwalk (59) – Rosonke 2, Vaske 20, Born 10, J. Endres 2, Mortiz 3, T. Endres 13, Geistler 2, Crall 7. Also played – Johnson. Totals: 24, 6-9.
Pella Christian 72, Norwalk 59
Pella Christian 15 14 16 27 – 72
Norwalk 12 11 12 24 – 59
3-point field goals – Pella Christian 3 (Jungling 2, Pringle 1), Norwalk 5 (Vaske 4, Crall 1). Fouls – Pella Christian 12, Norwalk 16. Technical Fouls – None. Fouled out – None.
Pella Christian girls roll over Norwalk
The Pella Christian girls’ basketball team beat Norwalk, 55-31, on Saturday evening.
The Eagles (7-2) led 16-4 after the first quarter, an advantage buoyed by a 13-0 run to end the frame. As the game wore on, they only added to their lead while their defensive looks stifled Norwalk (2-8).
Three Pella Christian players finished in double figures, led by Cailey Terpstra’s 14. Kaley Wilson added 11 while Isabella Baugh scored 10. Miranda Hughes led the Warriors with 10 points.
Pella Christian (55) – Wilson 11, Terpstra 14, Mitrisin 3, Bandstra 7, Baugh 10, Huisman 2, Fopma 8. Also played – Howerzyl. Totals: 20, 8-14.
Norwalk (31) – Campbell 6, Hughes 10, Laire 7, Westvold 4, Origer 4. Also played – LeQuatte, Morawski, Beenken, Eltjes. Totals: 11, 6-16.
Pella Christian 55, Norwalk 31
Pella Christian 16 9 16 14 – 55
Norwalk 4 6 12 9 – 31
3-point field goals – Pella Christian 7 (Terpstra 3, Wilson 2, Mitrisin 1, Bandstra 1), Norwalk 3 (Campbell, Hughes, Origer). Fouls – Pella Christian 19, Norwalk 14. Technical Fouls – None. Fouled out – None.
Cody Goodwin covers high school sports, college basketball recruiting and Drake athletics for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at (816) 582-0633, email him at email@example.com , or send him a tweet at @codygoodwin .