JESUP — Dike-New Hartford couldn’t have faced a much bigger roadblock on the way to the Class 2A girls’ state basketball tournament.
Matched against No. 1-ranked and undefeated North Linn in Monday’s regional finals, the ninth-ranked Wolverines mashed the pedal to the floor and smashed through for a 64-53 victory and the program’s first trip to the five-player state tournament.
North Linn hadn’t allowed more than 58 points in a game all season and had held 16 opponents to 30 or fewer points. Offensively, the Lynx owned the state’s No. 5 scoring offense (71.6 points per game) regardless of class.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said D-NH head coach Bruce Dall. “Take any class — 3A, 4A, whatever — they are one of the top teams in the state.”
The Wolverines (23-2) pulled it off with effective offense and aggressive defense. North Linn led 17-16 at halftime, but D-NH turned the game in its favor in the third quarter, building a 41-32 advantage.
“I think we just played solid man-to-man defense,” Dall explained. “And we pressed them. I think the press was something that really bothered them. Nothing on film showed anybody had pressed them, so we just said our athletes were gonna be athletic.”
The Lynx (23-1) closed within two points with three minutes to play, but the Wolverines never gave up the lead and sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Ellie Foster scored 22 points, Morgan Weber 16 and Baylee Petersen 11 to fuel the D-NH offense. Weber also grabbed 10 rebounds and went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line while Katie Knock blocked four shots and Carlee Dove rejected three.
Dike-New Hartford will take a 15-game winning streak into next week’s state tournament.
AGWSR 53, LYNNVILLE-SULLY 45: Eighth-ranked AGWSR of Ackley earned a Class 1A state tournament berth Monday with a win over unranked Lynnville-Sully.
The Cougars will take a 21-2 record to state while Lynnville-Sully finishes the season 18-7.
Dike-N.H. 63, North Linn 53
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD (23-2) — Ellie Foster 22, Sydney Petersen 9, Baylee Petersen 11, Morgan Weber 16, Katie Knock 4, Carlee Dove 2.
NORTH LINN (23-1) — Grace Flanagan 12, Abby Flanagan 11, Kylie Kurt 1, Anna LeGrand 9, Ashley Tull 7, Emma Ware 13.