PELLA — Class 3A No. 4 Pella kept Newton’s boys’ basketball team at arm’s length early in the first quarter and into the second period on Thursday night.
And every time the Cardinals hit a big shot to close the gap, Pella used a big run to pull further ahead.
A 9-0 run in the first quarter allowed the Dutch to take control and then an 11-0 spurt early in the second created a deficit Newton couldn’t overcome during a 73-44 home win in the 3A Substate 6 semifinals.
“We had to keep them out of transition, find the shooters and not turn the ball over,” Newton head boys coach Jason Carter said. “We had a stretch in the first half when we didn’t do any of those things.”
The Cardinals committed just 13 turnovers but several of them came in the first half against Pella’s full-court pressure. The Dutch also shot 54 percent from the floor, made nine 3-pointers and out-rebounded the Cardinals 35-18.
“We knew what we wanted to do, but it’s easier to say it than to actually do it,” Carter said. “We also went on a stretch when we didn’t score. That’s a bad combination all around.”
Pella (21-2) jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but 3-pointers by Logan Schilling and Jake Ingle closed the margin to 9-8. That’s when Pella used a 9-0 run to push the margin to 18-11 after one quarter.
Of those nine points, three came off a trey and six were scored on layups.
Brody Bauer opened the second with a drive and bucket to make it 18-13. But the Dutch’s 11-0 run included 3-pointers by Noah Allen, Grant Nelson and Ryan Mace and a jumper by Allen.
Miller and Allen also hit back-to-back 3s later to push the Dutch lead to 37-17.
“They have three guys who can really shoot it and others who can shoot it a little bit,” Carter said. “We just lost the wrong guys at the defensive end.”
It was 39-22 at halftime after Adam Mattes made a 3-pointer and Schilling scored and got fouled with 18 seconds to go in the period.
Mattes led the Cardinals with 12 points and five rebounds, but Bauer was limited to two points.
Schilling provided a spark to Newton’s offense in the third quarter. He had 11 points in the game but scored six of those in the third. All six came on hard drives to the rim.
His final layup in the quarter made it 47-33.
“I have been telling him all year that he’s capable of taking the ball to the hoop,” Carter said. “He had to be more of a shooter for us this year, but he learned as the year went on that he could really take the ball to the hoop and score for us that way, too.”
The third quarter also featured 3-pointers by Mattes and Ingle and baskets in the lane by Mattes and Trent Hamand. Ingle’s triple just before the end of the quarter put the score at 54-40 after three.
Pella was just too good in the fourth though, outscoring the Cardinals 19-4. The Dutch scored the first eight of the frame. Newton’s four points came on a jumper by Hamand and a runner by Ingle.
Ingle had eight points, three rebounds and five assists in the loss, while Hamand added a career-high six points and three rebounds. Keith Moko scored five points and Bauer grabbed three boards.
The Cardinals (9-13) shot 45 percent from the floor and made 5-of-21 from 3-point range.
Pella was led by Nelson, who finished with 20 points, four assists and three steals and Karl Miller tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Parker Elder finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Allen put in 10 points off the bench.
Newton will graduate three seniors from this year’s nine-win team, including Schilling, Hamand and Parker Aalbers.
“Three special guys. They gave us everything they had this year,” Carter said. “Neither of the three were in the starting lineup for large portions of the year. They grinded and did what we asked of them all year. I couldn’t be more proud of them. I wish them the best moving forward.”
With six of the top seven scorers able to return, Newton should have higher expectations next season. Carter wants more shooters.
“We need to be a better shooting team all around. We have to continue to develop our skills,” Carter said. “There’s going to be a lot of expectations going into next year. We were young this year, but we can’t use that excuse next year.
“We just have to get into the gym and grind this summer. And do the little things that make you a better basketball team. We’ll give them opportunities to get into the gym, but they have to put the work in.”
Notes: Mattes will enter his senior season with 864 career points. … There were only 13 fouls called in the game and the two teams combined to shoot five free throws. ... Pella committed only seven turnovers and had 25 assists on its made 31 field goals. … The Dutch take a six-game win streak into its substate championship game against Grinnell on Saturday night. Pella has scored at least 70 points in all six of those wins and have reached at least 70 in 11 games this season. … Grinnell won its first two postseason games against teams outside the Little Hawkeye Conference. The Tigers were swept this season by both Newton and Pella though.