DES MOINES — Bruce Dall will never forget to shave before a game again.
Over the Christmas break, Dall was running late and ran out of time without shaving as the Wolverines got on the bus to travel to BCLUW. D-NH won that night after dropping its previous game right before the break.
“I always shave before games, and I didn’t shave before that game and they were like now that we have won you have to keep the beard,” says Dall. “I’ve had this stupid beard for 15 games. I’m not a beard guy. I hate it to death.
“The girls ... they love it.”
Since Dall stopped shaving, the Wolverines stopped losing. They’ve won 15 straight games, including their 64-53 upset of No. 1 North Linn Monday that propelled D-NH to the Class 2A state tournament for the first time since Dike won the six-player state title in 1988.
“Fear the Beard. Fear the Beard,” exclaimed the Wolverines’ three sophomore starters — Ellie Foster, Morgan Weber and Katie Knock.
“Don’t let him fool you, he trims it,” laughed senior forward Baylee Petersen.
Dike-New Hartford is one of five Northeast Iowa teams and one of three North Iowa Cedar League teams that will be playing in this week’s girls’ state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
AGWSR of Ackley in 1A, Grundy Center in 2A, Crestwood of Cresco in 3A and Cedar Falls in 5A are the other area qualifiers.
The Wolverines are seeded sixth and open against Cascade Wednesday at 10 a.m.
D-NH had been knocking on the door of the state tourney with two regional finals appearances in the last four years before beating North Linn.
Dall and the Wolverines got to Des Moines using a blend of veteran players — seniors Allie Aalderks, Sydney and Baylee Petersen, junior Carlee Dove — and sophomores Foster, Weber and Knock, who are the top three scorers.
“The biggest asset of this team, and I’ve been doing this for 23 years, is probably more than any other team they know what to do without the ball,” Dall said. “So many teams we have to be structured from Point A to Point B. These girls can move without the ball.
“They are all savvy, and their will to win is incredible.”
It is also extremely hard to defend D-NH, which has five players who have scored 200 or more points this year.
The Petersen twins each average 8.5 points per game, while Foster is the team’s leading scorer at 14.0 ppg. Knock chips in 12.2 and Weber 11.1.
“Teams can’t pick and choose. They can’t expect to leave one person open, because if they do, that person will have a great night,” Weber said. “We each have a job and if they take away one job then another person will step up and do their thing.”
Dall is a state tournament veteran, having coached AGWSR to the 2009 state championship.
He feels this D-NH team is a special group.
“The five people we can put on the floor not only can score, but they can defend and are very athletic,” he said. “That is a tough match up for anybody.”