April 17, 2021

Offensive struggles plague Mustangs against No. 3 Lions

PCM boys can’t overcome slow start in district final loss to Des Moines Christian

PLEASANTVILLE — PCM’s boys’ basketball team held Des Moines Christian to seven points under its season scoring average on Tuesday night.

But struggles at the other end of the floor plagued the Mustangs as the Class 2A No. 3 Lions got out to an early lead and never trailed during a 56-43 victory in the 2A District 12 championship game.

PCM went scoreless for the first five minutes of the game, hit just 3-of-16 from 3-point range and were out-rebounded 29-21 in the loss.

“It’s been that way all year. I’m not sure if we are just unlucky or we just don’t have enough basket makers,” PCM boys head coach Fred Lorensen said. “There were so many times we had the ball by the basket tonight and just couldn’t control it or get it in.”

Des Moines Christian (20-2) led 13-4 after one period, shot 48 percent from the floor and hit 17-of-25 from the foul line.

The Lions led 5-0 and 9-2 in the first quarter. The Mustangs (11-11) couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the game.

“We have to make some shots. We had some really bad offense early in the game,” Lorensen said. “We dribbled into crowds but then got some better looks later. We just didn’t make enough of them.”

PCM played within one point of the Lions in the second and fourth quarters but were outscored 30-16 in the other two frames.

Des Moines Christian came into the game averaging more than 63 points per game. The Lions’ only two losses this season came when they didn’t reach 60.

Durant Van Dyke scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds for the Mustangs but picked up his second foul halfway through the first quarter and missed a lot of the first half.

All eight of his points came in the second half, but PCM was too far behind at that point.

“Durant has a chance to be really good,” Lorensen said. “He hasn’t been in foul trouble all year. It hurt us for sure. But I thought we played hard. There was a lot of effort. I was proud of them for that.”

Van Dyke scored six of his eight points in the third quarter. And Gatlin Boell scored four in a row late in the frame, but the Lions led 43-28 after three.

DMC won the fourth 16-15. Boell scored five of his 11 points in that frame and Grant Landgrebe scored all four of his points in the fourth.

Landgrebe’s 3 late made it 56-41 and Andrew Mitchell’s two free throws finalized the scoring.

Mitchell finished with a team-high 14 points. He was 5-of-6 from the foul line. PCM was 10-of-14 from the line overall.

Boell had six rebounds and three assists to go with his 11 points and Landgrebe also had four boards. Carson VandeLune put in four points.

The Lions were 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Both teams committed 14 turnovers.

Adam Witty led DMC with 20 points and five boards. Grant Veenstra had 13 points and seven rebounds and Ben Loverude chipped in 12 points and four assists.

Lorensen’s challenge this offseason is to figure out how PCM can return to competing for conference championships. The Mustangs have finished at or around .500 for consecutive seasons. They were 13-8 three years ago.

“The biggest thing right now is we need more shooters,” Lorensen said. “We have to have guys make baskets. That would cure a lot. We need to be better with the ball. We’ll get a nice nucleus back though.”

The nucleus is highlighted by Van Dyke and VandeLune, who were two of the top three scorers this past season. Van Dyke also grabbed nine boards per game.

The roster graduates four seniors from the regular rotation and eight seniors in all.

“I am really proud of those kids. Four of them don’t get to play that much, but they showed up to practice every day and did everything we asked of them,” Lorensen said. “I feel badly that we couldn’t get them more playing time. We’ll miss the seniors. There were a bunch of them.”

Des Moines Christian advances to play in the 2A Substate 6 championship game against Albia (19-2) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Carlisle.