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JESUP — Not much comes easily in a postseason basketball matchup between conference rivals.

That was true for most of Tuesday night’s Class 2A boys’ district final between Dike-New Hartford and Denver.

But with the outcome hanging in the balance, the Wolverines (20-1) gladly stepped up to the free throw line and hit 13 of 14 in the fourth quarter to slip past Denver, 61-55.

Dike-New Hartford advanced to a Saturday matchup against Madrid in Gilbert for a berth in the state tournament.

“The last time we played these guys (Denver) it was a tight game most of the way,” Wolverines coach Greg Moore said. “They are a very good defensive team and they will play hard all game. It was the type of the game we expected.

“I thought our kids sustained the game plan very well and kept their composure when things got close.”

Dike-New Hartford used a 14-0 run in the first quarter to jump ahead. Denver responded with an 11-2 run.

The Wolverines spurted again in the third quarter and built a 16-point lead, but that didn’t last, either.

Senior Devin Baas came off the bench in the fourth quarter and scored 10 straight points for Denver and suddenly the game became a five-point contest.

Dike-New Hartford had the answer.

“They came after us, so we spread things out around the perimeter and made them come out and get us,” said Moore. “We were not going to take any shots unless it was a layup or we went to the line.”

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The Wolverines couldn’t have executed that strategy much better.

Denver coach Kyle Matthias tipped his hat to Dike-New Hartford.

“Greg is a good coach and he knew what he had to do to win it,” said Matthias. “He put the ball in the hands of his good players. They have a pair of hammers over there in Harberts and Fuller and we got caught up a couple times and committed too many fouls.

“We have played a lot of close games this year and put up one of our better seasons since 2012,” added Matthias. “I am proud of our guys in how they fought and never gave up.”

Dike-N.H. 61, Denver 55

DENVER (16-7) — Isaac Besh 2 0-0 6, Bryce Phelps 5 5-6 15, Kyler Matthias 3 1-2 10, Alex Gebel 2 0-1 4, Devin Baas 5 0-0 10, Zach Miller 5 0-0 10, Will Curtis 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 6-9 55.

DIKE-NEW HARTFORD (20-1) — Colton Harberts 7 3-4 17, Cade Fuller 5 4-6 15, Dane Fuller 4 1-2 10, Tim Koop 2 4-4 9, Derek Kinney 2 4-4 8, Owen Goos 0 0-0 0, Parker Liewiet 0 0-0 0, Ryan Moore 1 0-0 2, Isaac Jorgensen 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 16-20 61.

Denver 10 15 7 23 — 55

Dike-N.H. 18 13 13 17 — 61

3-point goals—Denver 5 (Matthias 3, Besh 2), D-NH 3 (Koop, D. Fuller, C. Fuller). Total fouls—Denver 20, D-NH 13. Fouled out—Baas.

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