Out of reach
South Hardin can’t climb out of huge hole against Pella Christian
MONROE — It didn’t take long for the South Hardin boys basketball team to find out it was in trouble in Tuesday’s Class 2A District 13 opener on Monday.
The Tigers were forced to use two timeouts during the first quarter as head coach Nathan Gevelinger urged his team to “wake up”, but it proved difficult to do that against the Eagles as they took a 22-1 lead after the first quarter.
South Hardin did eventually find some rhythm, but it wasn’t enough to pull back into the game, as Pella Christian cruised to an easy 72-49 victory to start postseason play. As a reward, the Eagles have to face off with No. 7 East Marshall in Le Grand on Thursday.
After the game, Gevelinger said his guys didn’t bring enough shovels to dig out of a 21-point hole in the first eight minutes.
“First quarter, that was the difference,” Gevelinger said. “It was a little bit nerves, we were prepared. I saw their last three games in person and we watched 10 of their games so we were prepared, it’s just the moment got to us a little bit and by the time we settled down we were already in the hole down 22-1.”
From the word go it was clear the Eagles (8-14) had one goal, stop Tigers’ leading scorer Kevin Rewoldt. They were able to do that for the most part, holding Rewoldt to just four points in the first half, and Gevelinger said when the option wasn’t there to go to the 6-foot-8 senior his guards weren’t able to find the next plan of attack.
“When they took it away we didn’t do a good job of attacking,” he said. “We did in the second quarter but by that point we were chasing and we needed to get a stop but we kept trading buckets and you can’t trade when you are down 20 points.”
After the first quarter, South Hardin (9-12) was able to play Pella Christian tight, allowing the Eagles to only outscore them 50-48 in the final 24 minutes. Yet as the offense improved the defense couldn’t quite figure out how to stop the Pella Christian attack.
The Tigers did hold Eagles’ leading scorer Alex Huisman to just one point, but Jake Pringle got loose for 13 points pretty much all coming from drives to the basket, and when he wasn’t able to score in the paint he dished it out to Jayden Huisman or down low to Josh Van Gorp, who finished with 14 and 12 points respectively.
“Our help-side defense wasn’t very good,” Gevelinger said. “I thought everything ran through [Pringle], he’s smooth and we thought putting Kaleb on him with his length would give him fits but he’s quicker. Seeing him against our team he was quicker, maybe I should have made a switch earlier but he penetrated and they dished it off to the big guys, [Alex Huisman] didn’t even have to play.”
Jacob Vander Wilt led the way for South Hardin with a game-high 15 points, while Rewoldt had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds and Cauy Teske hit three shots from behind the 3-point line to finish with 10 points.
All of the Tiger players continued to claw and scratch until the final buzzer sounded, Teske even drained a three right as time expired at halftime, and Gevelinger said his guys didn’t lack for effort.
“They could have rolled over and died, and they didn’t, so I was proud of them for keeping fighting,” Gevelinger said.
Rewoldt, the lone senior on the team, said all year the guys have battled through adversity, so much so that it baffled opposing coaches.
“The whole team, every game if we are down we keep fighting no matter what,” Rewoldt said. “Even other coaches talk to our coach and ask why we keep all our starters in or why do we keep going and coach always said ‘I’m not going to let them stop. We are just going to keep going.'”
Gevelinger said having Rewoldt in his first year as coach was a blessing, and he likely won’t coach another kid like the tall Tiger.
“I am proud of our lone senior, I told him he’s a dinosaur, we may never see one of him again,” Gevelinger said. “A true post and how much he’s improved, we ended thanking him for a great year.”
Though the year came to a close on a sour note, the Tigers did win five more games than the 4-18 campaign last season, and Rewoldt said he is proud of how far the team came along in just one year.
“We improved a lot, we did very well as a team with the new coach coming in, we handled it really well,” he said. “We built off of everybody, and the games we didn’t play as a team together we didn’t do too well but when we played together as a team we were really good.”
With 11 players from the varsity roster returning next season, including four out of five starters, South Hardin could see another great leap moving into next season, but Gevelinger said if they want to make that happen his guys have to put in the work.
“It just comes down to execution, I think we have to make a commitment in the summer to first and foremost defense, then after that we can go from there,” Gevelinger said. “We are going to have to make some changes offensively and defensively, we are going to be a different team next year. It will be five-
Pella Christian 72, South Hardin 49
SOUTH HARDIN (9-12) — Jacob Vander Wilt 4 4-7 15, Cauy Teske 3 1-3 10, Kaleb Rolling 1 1-2 3, Cade Spieker 0 0-0 0, Kevin Rewoldt 6 1-2 13, Kolby Winter 0 0-0 0, Tanner Lawrence 0 0-0 0, Garrison Tripp 1 3-5 5, Gavin Ridout 1 0-0 3, Dante Dolash 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 10-19 49.
PELLA CHRISTIAN (8-14) — Dan Jungling 1 2-2 5, Jayden Huisman 6 0-1 15, Jake Pringle 6 1-1 13, Treven Caldwell 2 0-0 4, Alex Huisman 0 1-2 1, Noah Treimer 0 0-0 0, Keean Cadwell 0 2-2 2, Devin Haveman 0 0-0 0, Jase Amelse 4 0-0 9, Jack Vermeer 3 0-0 7, Isaac Vermeer 0 0-0 0, Brett Roose 2 0-0 5, Levi Ver Meer 0 0-0 0, Josh Van Gorp 5 2-2 12. TOTALS 29 8-10 72.
S. HARDIN 1 17 14 17 — 49
PELLA C. 22 18 14 18 — 72
3-Point Goals–SH 7 (Vander Wilt and Teske 3, Rewoldt), PC 6 (J. Huisman 2, Jungling, Amelse, J. Vermeer, Roose). Total Fouls–SH 13, PC 18. Fouled Out–none.