Pella’s Lady Dutch are Runner-Up State Champions
One team. One journey. Pella’s Lady Dutch became the runner-up state champions the week of February 29 at the Wells Fargo Arena.
This was accomplished by making it through the playoffs and winning two of their three games at Wells Fargo Arena.
“We work very hard in practices and play as a team. We don’t have one main player; we all contribute,” said player freshman Elly Cairney. “We have six different players who have scored the highest points. The team has a great capability to play through fatigue and finish strong.”
The first game of state was against Lewis Central. They won and moved on to play and defeat Marion on Friday, March 4th. After their second win of the state tournament, they advanced to play Mason City in the championship.
“I expect the girls to play with passion and enthusiasm no matter who we play,” said head coach Jerod Garland. “We have girls who love to compete, and they don’t really care who the other team is.”
At 6:00 P.M., they played Mason City for the championship title, one that Pella’s Lady Dutch has never received before. They played neck-and-neck throughout the game, but came up short and lost. The girls became the Class 4A Runner-Up State Champions.
“I am very satisfied with the season looking back at it. It would have been nice to come home with a championship, but knowing we made it to the last possible day that we could play during the season is a big accomplishment,” said junior Ciara Buchheit, a varsity starter. “This season has been very memorable for me; I loved my teammates, and I am thankful for the coaches we have that taught us and got us to where we ended up. It would’ve been nice to win our final game, but I have one final year to do that!”
At the beginning of the season, the Lady Dutch had a record of 2-2. After the first four matches, they didn’t lose one single game until the championship. This resulted in Garland having the longest winning streak in all of the team’s history.
“It’s never strictly been about wins and losses for us as a staff, but it’s also rewarding to see a group of girls come together and be able to set a record that is so lofty”, Garland said. “The winning streak is cool, but what’s better is that these girls will remember the memories and bus rides more than that. That’s the way it should be.”
Now that the season is over, the team will lose two seniors, Lydia and Alexa Dingeman. The team also pulled up three freshman, Sidnie Van Vark, Cairney, and Grace Held, onto the team to sit and dress at state.
“It is fun supporting the team. The girls are really fun to be around, and I have enjoyed every part of it- the team meals, the practices, and the games,” said Cairney. “I hope that with hard work and dedication we will get back to state next year.”
One team. One Journey. Pella’s Lady Dutch finished the season as runner-up state champions and hope for a second chance next year.
“Sometimes when you get a taste of the highest level, it gives you motivation to want to get back there again,” finished Garland. “I think the girls will use this as a springboard for next season.”
Cover image credit (Des Moines Register)
Story written by (Josie Lickteig)