Western Christian 67, Pella Christian 57
Western Christian kept finding answers when Pella Christian threatened. The result was the school’s first state championship in girls basketball.
All-tournament captain Brooke Wolterstorff scored 16 points and the fifth-ranked Wolfpack got a major contribution from freshman Jamie Gesink in beating No. 15 Pella Christian 67-57 to win the Class 2A state championship.
Gesink scored 14 points, hitting a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half and going 4-for-4 on free throws. Alissa Pollema and Shae DeJager each scored 12 points for Western Christian and DeJager and pulled 11 rebounds.
Western jumped to a 23-8 lead early in the second quarter and while Pella Christian never led, the Eagles got back into the game and kept pressure on the Wolfpack to the end.
Christina Nolte and Tayler Stursma scored 14 points each to lead Pella Christian. Jasmin Schelhaas added 12 points and six assists for the Eagles, while Sami Veenstra scored 10 points. Pella Christian stayed in it with outstanding free throw shooting, making 21 of 23.
In an impressive display of sportsmanship, the two teams posed for a group photo after the game. They played during the regular season, Western winning 74-72.
Western Christian won its last 12 games and 15 of the last 16 to finish 25-3. Pella Christian finished 23-4.
Down by 10 at halftime, Pella Christian started the second half with a 12-4 run to cut the lead to 37-35. Gesink, a 5-foot-8 guard, then hit a 3-pointer to start a 12-2 run that put the Wolfpack ahead 49-37.
But Pella Christian answered back. Schelhaas scored six points and fed Stursma for a layup during a 12-3 run that cut the lead to 52-49. Gesink stopped that rally with another 3-pointer and the Wolfpack finally pulled away for good.
Nolte, Schelhaas and Western Christian’s Kim Kroeze joined Wolterstorff on the all-tournament team, which also included Jessie Pauley of OA-BCIG and Tember Schechinger of IKM-Manning.
Western Christian won its title with a starting lineup of four juniors and a sophomore. The team had only one senior, so the Wolfpack should be a threat to repeat next season.