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DES MOINES — With a tenacious and relentless effort, fourth-seeded Cascade pushed past fifth-seeded Dike-New Hartford, 52-43, Tuesday in the Class 2A girls’ state basketball quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Arena.

It was the second straight year the Cougars and Wolverines met in a state tournament opener, and the result was the same.

The defending state champions took an early lead, built it and kept D-NH at bay as they earned a shot against top-ranked Grundy Center Friday at 10 a.m. in the semifinals.

That game, too, is a rematch of a game Cascade won last year in the 2A state finals.

“The thing is, we compete. We play hard, and we executed,” Cascade head coach Mike Sconsa said.

It was back-and-forth early as the teams traded the lead five times in the first four minutes before a free throw by Abby Welter with 4:39 left gave the Cougars (23-1) a lead they never relinquished.

Cascade led 18-13 after one and stretched the lead to 13 by halftime, 33-20.

“We couldn’t get into a flow whatsoever,” said D-NH head coach Bruce Dall. “We didn’t knock down free throws early. We didn’t identify shooters early. And the energy we have had just wasn’t there.”

The Wolverines (20-3) found their energy in the halftime lockerroom, and began to hit their stride early in the third. A Morgan Weber 3-pointer cut the deficit to 36-28 with 5:35 left. An Ellie Foster 3 cut it to five, and then Foster converted a conventional three-point play with 3:11 left in the third that made it 37-34.

The Wolverines then had three possessions to trim the lead further or tie the game, but two missed 3-point attempts and a turnover ended those possessions.

“When you try so hard to come back from a deficit like that, you start to lose energy,” Dall said. “I think we got a little tired in the legs, and that didn’t help late.”

Cascade pounced, ending the quarter on a 6-0 run. Twice in the fourth, D-NH got within six, but that was as close as it got.

“Really frustrating,” Foster said. “We got back in it, were matching their energy and ... it was just tough.”

“To the aggressors go the spoils,” Dall added. “They were more aggressive to start the game and that set the tone for the game and put us a little behind.”

Foster led all scorers with 20 points, while Weber had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.

“They played aggressive defense, and their offense was just amazing,” Weber said of Cascade. “I thought we did a good job, it just wasn’t enough.”

Abby Welter led the Cougars with 17 points, while Nicole McDermott chipped in 15.

Cascade 52, Dike-NH 43

DIKE-NEW HARTFORD (20-3) — Ellie Foster 7-14 3-5 20, Morgan Weber 5-11 1-3 14, Katie Knock 2-11 2-2 8, Carlee Dove 0-1 0-0 0, Jill Eilderts 0-0 0-0 0, Sydeney Latwesen 0-0 0-0 0, Rylee Wessely 0-3 0-0 0, Chloe Schipper 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Kvale 0-2 0-0 0, Sophia Hoffman 0-5 0-0 0, Abby Sohn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-47 7-14 43.

CASCADE (23-1) — Nicole McDermott 3-6 9-10 15, Skylar Dolphin 0-4 2-4 2, Jordan Simon 4-7 2-6 13, Abby Welter 5-10 6-7 17, Rachel Trumm 0-1 0-4 0, Robyn Takes 0-1 0-0 0, Jess Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0, Meta Bergfeld 0-0 0-0 0, Faith Bower 0-0 0-0 0, Ally Hoffman 2-4 0-0 5, Molly McElmeel 0-0 0-0 0, Lilly Trumm 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-33 19-31 52.

Dike-NH 13 7 14 9 — 43

Cascade 18 15 10 9 — 52

3-point goals — D-NH 8-28 (Foster 3-9, Weber 3-7, Knock 2-8, Kvale 0-2, Hoffman 0-2), Cascade 5-16 (McDermott 0-2, Dolphin 0-3, Simon 3-6, Welter 1-2, Takes 0-1). Rebounds — D-NH 30 (Weber 11). Cascade 30 (McDermott 6, Welter 6). Assists — D-NH 5 (Foster 3). Cascade 9 (three with two). Turnovers — D-NH 14 (Foster 6). Cascade 14 (four with 3). Total fouls — Dike-New Hartford 20, Cascade 10. Fouled out — none.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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