Van Meter girls and boys basketball capture victories in Pleasantville

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Van Meter girls head basketball coach Jay Olson during the Monday, Dec. 21 outing against Des Moines Christian.

Back on the road for their third conference road battle of the season, both the Van Meter boys and girls basketball teams captured victory on Friday, Jan. 8 in Pleasantville. 

The Bulldog girls started things off with a narrow 36-32 defensive contest for their fifth straight victory over the Trojans. Meanwhile, the Bulldog boys continued their dominance over Pleasantville with a 60-31 victory for their seventh straight against the Trojan boys. 

The Bulldog girls were engaged in a defensive slugfest throughout the game. Defense reigned supreme especially in the first half of play in which Van Meter held a slight 9-5 lead after one quarter. The second quarter was extremely low on scoring with just nine combined points, only three of which came from the Bulldogs marking one of their lowest scoring second-quarter efforts of the season. That took both teams into the halftime break with Van Meter up just 12-11. 

The second half proved to have a little more scoring. The third quarter is where the Bulldogs picked up some separation, outscoring the Trojans 17-11. Van Meter held on to that lead despite a 10-7 fourth-quarter run by Pleasantville. Overall, neither team had their best shooting performances with Van Meter connecting on just 27.5 percent of their shots while Pleasantville shot 25 percent from the floor. The host Trojans depended more on the free-throw line for their scoring with 60 percent of their points stemming from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Van Meter connected on just 4-of-13, their lowest mark from the free-throw line this season. Twenty-three Pleasantville turnovers also gave quite a boost to Van Meter who swiped 17 steals on the night. 

Individually, Van Meter was led by Zoie Vaught who dropped 11 points on the night courtesy of 4-of-18 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. The senior was followed up by Chaney Coppinger with seven points and Shea Bernhardt with six points. Future Kirkwood star Jorja Hanselman paced the way off the glass with seven rebounds which puts her at 361 total for her career so far. Josie Durflinger led the way in assists for the Bulldogs with three on the night. 

Van Meter junior Clark Fiala getting ready for a shot on Monday, Dec. 21 against Des Moines Christian.

In the double-header finale, the Van Meter boys had a strong victory over the host Trojans. The Bulldogs produced double-digit scoring in all four quarters and didn't face a deficit. Despite the close second quarter where Pleasantville edged out Van Meter 11-10, the first-quarter performance kept the game in the Bulldogs' favor with an 18-9 run to begin the game. 

Van Meter overall was stronger in their efficiency and volume of scoring, shooting 47 percent compared to 23 percent from Pleasantville while connecting on 10 more shots. That was extremely evident in the third quarter when Van Meter opened up the second half with their 11th 20-plus scoring quarter of the season. That 20-11 third quarter run set the visiting Bulldogs up nicely and was outmatched only by their fourth-quarter defensive performance. There, Van Meter limited Pleasantville to absolutely no points as they themselves went on a 12-0 run to wrap up the game. 

Clark Fiala tied his season-high in points to lead Van Meter on an individual note with 15 points for the contest on a near perfect night. Fiala went a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor and nearly kept it perfect going 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. Behind him was fellow juniors Chris Schreck with 14 points and Casey Trudo with 11 for the night. Van Meter hauled in 35 total rebounds for the night, 12 of which came from Fiala who captured quite the all-around night. Schreck led the way in assists with four of Van Meter's 11 total assists for the contest. The Bulldogs also had 10 steals and three blocks. 

With the victory, Van Meter continues to improve their record, now 7-2 on the heels of three straight victories. 

Up next on the docket for both teams will be home battles but against different opponents. Van Meter boys will be welcoming in Kuemper Catholic while the girls will be hosting Grand View Christian.