Effort plays key to Dutch men’s basketball win
PELLA — An Iowa Conference showdown with league leader Buena Vista ended in an 80-78 triumph for the Central College men’s basketball team Wednesday at P.H. Kuyper Gym.
Central (13-11 overall, 7-8 conference) used hustle plays and offensive rebounds to overtake the Beavers after trailing by 11 with 7:29 left in the first half.
“The difference in the game tonight was our effort plays,” said coach Craig Douma. “We had guys diving on the floor for loose balls and grabbing offensive rebounds. Those are all effort.”
The Dutch were led by senior guard Pete Walker (Red Oak) with 20 points including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and Central’s all-time scorer senior forward Colby Taylor (Creston) had 18 points.
“Pete really stepped up tonight after struggling a bit against Simpson,” said Douma. “He got it going early and then we were able to get Colby some touches inside and got things going.”
Senior center Ryan Kunkel (Solon) had six points and 10 rebounds and junior forward Malik Wildermuth (Normal, Ill., University HS) had five points.
“Ryan did a great job on the boards tonight,” said Douma. “He had three offensive rebounds tonight and kept the energy going. Malik had a key five point stretch where he scored and locked his guy down on defense.”
Central controlled the glass 34-28 including a 15-5 offensive rebound margin. Buena Vista shot 56.4 percent compared to the Dutch 46.8.
“They shot the ball well tonight,” said Douma. “They made a ton of shots but our guys went after it on the offensive glass and that was the difference in the game.”
Central finishes the season at Luther Saturday at Decorah for a women’s-men’s doubleheader with the men beginning at 4 p.m. The Dutch won the first matchup with the Norse 82-67 January 4 at Kuyper Gym. With a win Saturday, Central clinches a berth to the league tourney but Douma knows his men will be prepared.
“The guys know what’s at stake Saturday,” he said. “They’ll be motivated and ready to go.”