Unique Finish for State Basketball Championship

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This year the high school girls’ basketball state championship had a unique finish: both schools in the final were Christian schools. In another twist, the championship photo included both teams.

Pella Christian and Western Christian teams pose in the championship photo.

Photo by WHO TV Channel 13 News

Western Christian, from Hull, and Pella Christian first met last summer at a sports camp at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The teams were rivals from the start, but friends nonetheless.

Pella Christian had a successful season. They won the Little Hawkeye conference and broke several team records. This was their ninth state competition.

Western Christian saw their potential around the middle of the season. This was their fifth trip to state, but their first time to win a round, much less the title.

“We talked about how it would be cool to see each other again [at state],” said Kevin Van Maanen, Pella Christian’s coach.

Before they met each other in the finals, the teams met under the bleachers and prayed.

“Calvin gave us the opportunity to bond,” said Bill Harmsen, Western’s coach. “The most important part is knowing who we play for.”

“We can compete hard on the basketball court, but at the same time we can still come together and be friends,” said Van Maanen. “We are both striving for the same goal, and win or lose, we can give the same person the same glory.”

The state title ultimately went to the Western girls, their first championship win.

About the Author


Kate Padilla is a staff writer at the Spencer Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa, where she is a member of Hope Church.