MONROE — The crowd inside the PCM gymnasium was smaller than normal on Dec. 5.
Longtime PCM boys basketball coach Fred Lorensen said it might be his program’s fault. The Mustangs just haven’t been competitive enough against perennial power Pella Christian to give the fans a reason to want to attend the annual non-conference game.
A big effort by the Mustangs may change that a bit though.
PCM put together a strong defensive performance and a balanced offensive effort pushed the Mustangs to a 63-57 home victory.
“If you beat Pella Christian, you know you beat somebody good. That’s a big win for us,” Lorensen said. “ his series hasn’t been a rivalry the last few years. They have kicked us pretty good the last two or three years. To make this a true rivalry, you have to share some wins once in a while.”
It was the first win for PCM over its highway rival since Dec. 9, 2013. Pella Christian won the second meeting in postseason play that year and had taken the last three regular season meetings. The average margin of defeat in those three wins for the Eagles was 24 points.
“We haven’t beat them in a while,” said junior Andrew Van Ryswyk, who finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the win. “We wanted to do this last year but didn’t get it done. We definitely came out ready to play tonight.”
Van Ryswyk was one of three Mustangs to score in double-figures but four others put in at least four points.
Senior Elijah Sperfslage and junior Reed Worth each scored 13 to lead the way. Worth also finished with four rebounds and three assists and Sperfslage pulled down three boards.
However, as good as the offense was, the defense was the difference. PCM was active in passing lanes, active and aggressive on the glass and handed the Eagles a third straight loss to begin the season.
Pella Christian, last year’s Class 2A state runner-up, is 0-3 for the first time in more than a decade.
Lorensen stuck with his 10-man rotation and got good production from his bench for the second straight game. Led by sophomore Derek Brown’s six points, the bench contributed 13 points on the night.
Brown also had five rebounds, and PCM out-rebounded Pella Christian 35-24.
“We put our second group in there, and I wanted to leave them in there for a few minutes to give our starters a rest, but I ended up not being able to take them out,” Lorensen said. “They were playing too well. That’s huge for us. I was concerned that we might not have enough offense out there, but they made some baskets, too. They played really hard.”
Pella Christian led 12-11 after one quarter, and the Eagles went up 22-17 in the second quarter following a 3-pointer by Dan Jungling.
After the Eagles went ahead 27-21, PCM ended the quarter on an 11-3 run. Sperfslage scored four during that stretch, and Brown converted a three-point play to get his team within one. PCM led 32-30 at halftime.
The game stayed close in the third quarter. PCM led by five on two separate occasions, but the Eagles (0-3) trimmed the deficit to one after three quarters.
Senior Dayton Boell provided the Mustangs with a lift early in the fourth. He scored all four of his points on the first two possessions of the period, and it gave PCM a 47-42 lead. A putback by junior Isaac Telfer and a pull up jumper by sophomore Jason Stafford extended the lead to nine.
“The bench was big. If we had to play only five guys tonight, we would have been hurting,” Lorensen said.
The Eagles didn’t go away though. They hit a pair of 3-pointers to close the gap to three, but Van Ryswyk answered one of those treys with a 3-pointer of his own. He then made it five straight when he an acrobatic tip in found the bottom of the net to give the Mustangs an eight-point cushion.
“I am not really sure how it went in, but it counts so I will take it,” Van Ryswyk said.
Jungling answered the bell with another Pella Christian 3-pointer and then Jake Pringle went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line to bring his team to within three with 1:24 to play.
Worth answered Pringle’s free throws with a three-point play with 1:02 left. The Mustangs hit four free throws in the final minute to close out the win.
Lorensen also called four timeouts in the final minute to make sure his players were on the same page.
“We haven’t worked on a lot of end-of-the-game stuff yet so we wanted to make sure we were on the same page,” Lorensen said. “It was mainly to calm us down and keep us focused on what we had to do next.”
PCM traveled to Roland-Story on Dec. 5. The Mustangs stay on the road for a trip to Greene County at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 in Jefferson.
PCM 74, Saydel 7
MONROE — Lorensen has seen a lot in his 35-plus years of coaching.
He ran into something he hadn’t seen Dec. 1. A game where one team was simply overmatched.
Luckily for Lorensen, the overmatched team was Saydel, and the Mustangs opened the season with a dominating 74-7 win.
PCM led 23-0 after one quarter, scored the game’s first 33 points and got the season off on the right foot. But it wasn’t what Lorensen expected coming in.
“It was really strange. We saw them play Monday night and they did some really good stuff,” Lorensen said. “They hit 11 3-pointers in that game. I was really concerned about them.”
The Eagles didn’t make 11 3-pointers against PCM. They only made two field goals in the game.
Twelve different Mustangs scored at least two points and 16 grabbed at least one rebound. And the defense was swarming and finishing off the possessions with strong rebounds.
“We were good defensively. Saydel had a hard time getting good shots up and when they did they missed them,” Lorensen said. “We rebounded it well, too. We knew we’d have the size advantage, and the guys did a good job attacking the glass.”
The Mustang starters put in the first 13 points. All five players scored at least one point and the spurt ended with a 3-point play by Van Ryswyk. Van Ryswyk scored five points and grabbed nine boards in the game.
Lorensen shifted in a fresh new five at that point. Stafford made an immediate impact with back-to-back 3-pointers. And then Boell scored consecutive buckets to make it 23-0 after one.
The starters came back into the game at the start of the second quarter and got right back to work. Van Ryswyk scored on a putback and then senior Jackson Thomas and Sperfslage connected from downtown to put the Mustangs up 31-0.
Saydel’s first point of the game came on a free throw by Zach Bobenhouse with 3:56 to play until halftime.
Sperfslage ended the starters’ stretch of minutes with a reverse layup to put the Mustangs up 35-1. Sperfslage led the way for PCM with 13 points, four rebounds, four steals and four assists.
The five reserves returned to the game, and the drop off was minimal. Telfer scored four straight points and then Brown sunk two 3-pointers to make it 47-1. Boell added two more buckets before halftime as the Mustangs led 49-5 at the break.
Boell scored 12 points and grabbed four boards off the bench. Brown hit three triples and scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds.
“We had a really good inside-out game, and we did a nice job of penetrating to the basket,” Lorensen said. “We made the extra pass several times. And our post guys were more physical inside than they have been. We’ll need to see more of that.”
The entire second half had a continuous clock as the Mustangs led by more than 35 points. PCM outscored Saydel 12-2 in the third, highlighted by 3-point buckets from Sperfslage and Thomas.
Thomas finished with nine points and six rebounds, and the Mustangs led 61-7 after three quarters.
Boell began the fourth with a drive to the bucket and then Brown splashed in his third 3-pointer of the game. Telfer’s bucket ended the night for the regulars as PCM led 68-7.
Telfer finished with six points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Lorensen emptied his bench, and junior Jordon DeVries and sophomore Dane Owens each scored buckets inside and sophomore Seth Greiner nailed a pair of free throws.