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Iowa high school girls basketball state tournament: Dike-New Hartford, Panorama advance to Class 2A state title game

The teams meet at 4:45 p.m. Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines

DES MOINES, IOWA – Dike-New Hartford is no stranger to playing for state championships, while Panorama is a stranger. 

The two teams both advanced to the Class 2A state championship game with semifinal victories Friday at Wells Fargo Arena.

Wolverines’ size too much for Rebels

The three-time defending state champions Wolverines coupled their experience and size in a 58-44 triumph over Sioux Central in a Class 2A state quarterfinal Friday morning.

They had to fight through adversity though when double digit scorer Jadyn Petersen went down late in the first quarter and missed almost nine minutes of action with an ankle injury.

Jadyn Petersen returned with 1:49 left in the first half with the Wolverines clinging to a one-point lead, sparking D-NH with an 8-3 run to surge ahead at halftime 27-22 in a first half that had seven ties and four lead changes.

D-NH post Payton Petersen dominated in the post Friday morning with 29 points and 19 rebounds, including 9 offensive boards. (Photo by Ryah Timmerman)

D-NH post Payton Petersen dominated in the post Friday morning with 29 points and 19 rebounds, including 9 offensive boards. (Photo by Ryah Timmerman)

Senior reserve Miranda Tyler was credited with holding down the fort while Jadyn Petersen was sidelined, and Petersen’s return gave her team a spark.

“Miranda Tyler stepped in and really filled her role well,” said D-NH coach Bruce Dall. “Jaydn’s been battling an ankle injury all year long, tweaked it three or four times. I knew she’d be back. She’s too much of a competitor. I think everyone was relieved and that lifted the team.”

Twin sister Payton Petersen was proud of both her sister for coming back and Tyler for giving the Wolverines quality minutes.

“Miranda works so hard in practice and for her to be able to step in for Jadyn, props to her,” said Payton Petersen, who had an impressive double-double with 29 points and 19 rebounds (nine offensive). “Jadyn’s special. We do everything together. When she came back in, it was like everything’s OK.”

The Wolverines extended their halftime lead to 40-27 with 2:42 left in the third when Jadyn Petersen sank a jumper from the free-throw line.

They carried a 45-33 advantage into the fourth quarter, but the Rebels made one final push when Preslie Peterson scored back-to-back buckets, followed by a Avery Wilson steal and coast-to-coast layup to close the deficit to 45-39 with 5:18 left in the game.

Dall then called timeout and set up a play to go inside, and Payton Petersen posted up and received an entry pass from Maryn Bixby, for a layup, sparking the Wolverines on a 7-0 flurry and control of the game where they went on to lead by as many as 16.

“We’re an inside-out team so needed to remember what our identity was, and that’s what the timeout was for,” Dall said. “We were looking to get the best possible shot out of a set.”

Bixby finished with 11 points, six assists and four steals.

Rebounding was a huge difference in the game. Dike-New Hartford held a big 50-32 advantage on the boards. After Payton Petersen’s 19, Jadyn Peterson pulled down 16 despite missing over a quarter of the game. The two combined for 16 offensive rebounds.

The twin sisters will both play volleyball at the next level with Payton going to Louisville and Jaydn staying at home to play for her mother, Bobbi, who is coach at UNI.

Sioux Central's Morgan Christian pushes the ball up the court. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

Sioux Central's Morgan Christian pushes the ball up the court. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

The Wolverines also held a 30-22 advantage in the paint.

Neither team shot particularly well. The Wolverines made 33.9 percent (20 of 59) from the field, and the Rebels hit on just 31.6 percent (18 of 57).

“I think their size won out,” said Sioux Central coach Kasey Krager. “We got killed by 18 on the glass. We had plenty of chances. We usually shoot it better than that. We didn’t shoot it well, and we didn’t finish some layups in the first half.”

The Wolverines didn’t shoot well at the charity stripe, converting 13 of 21, but had a big advantage as Sioux Central only had three points on just seven attempts.

Three players scored in double digits for Sioux Central with Peterson leading the way with 14 points, making 6 of 7 shots. Morgan Christian scored 13 and had a solid overall game with six assists and five steals. Wilson chipped in with 12 points and blocked three shots. Caitlin Wildeman had a good defensive game, blocking four shots before fouling out.

Sioux Central finishes a fine season with a 23-2 record and its first state tournament appearance in school history.

“I’m super proud of the girls and their efforts, the game plan we put in place and the body of work that the girls have done all season long,” Krager said. “The girls played hard, and I think we had them rattled. We just ran into a really good team today.”

The unbeaten Wolverines, who won three volleyball championships in four years, improve to 26-2 heading into Saturday’s championship game.

Panthers claw their way past Rebels

Panorama held on to pull out a thrilling 39-36 victory over Westwood in the second 2A semifinal game, advancing to its first state championship game in school history.

Trailing 18-16 at halftime, the Panthers used a 14-2 run to open up a 30-20 lead and held on for dear life against relentless full-court pressure defense from the Rebels.

Westwood nearly came all the way back, closing the gap to 37-36 with 56 seconds left on a steal and layup by Brenna Johnson, who earlier canned a 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 run.

Panorama's Mia Waddle celebrates a made three-pointer Friday afternoon. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

Panorama's Mia Waddle celebrates a made three-pointer Friday afternoon. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

Panorama called timeout and had trouble inbounding the ball in front of their own bench – twice getting the ball deflected out of bounds. The third time was a charm though as Tyme Boettcher found Mia Waddle streaking down the lane for a layup to put her team up three with 16 seconds left.

“They were putting pressure on us so we were looking for whatever they gave us,” Waddle said. "It didn’t matter who, we just needed to get the ball in. I decided to do a cut, and she saw me open and I went in for the layup.”

“I knew we just had to get the ball in, and we were lucky enough to get a back door layup on the out of bounds play,” said Panorama coach Kylee Boettcher, who has her team in the state tournament for the third straight season. “It was so nice having the ball right in front of me so I could just call out names. They were overplaying it, and she just went to it. No play design there. It was just good basketball.”

Boettcher credited her team’s defense with the 14-2 run to open the second half.

“The main thing was were just able to get some stops,” she said. “They didn’t turn the ball over much, and when we did force a turnover, we just needed to execute. I think getting points off turnovers was huge.”

The game still came down to a final possession where Panorama played outstanding defense, forcing Westwood coach Vince Johnson to call a timeout with a mere 0.8 seconds left in the game, but his team couldn’t get a shot off.

“I probably should’ve called timeout earlier,” he said. We were trying to get Brenna open in the corner or Addy coming off on the wing.”

The Panthers’ Waddle and Tyme Boettcher, daughter of the coach, shared game-high scoring honors with 12 points. Boettcher had a double-double, adding 10 rebounds. Sellers, an outstanding all-round athlete, finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Both Sellers and Waddle handed out three assists.

Westwood's Ella Hanner surveys the defense Friday afternoon. (Photo by Ryan Tiimmerman)

Westwood's Ella Hanner surveys the defense Friday afternoon. (Photo by Ryan Tiimmerman)

Westwood was led by the Johnson sisters as Brenna had 11 points, six rebounds and four steals, and Addy scored 10 points and had three steals. Cate Dress just missed double figures with nine points but handed out five assists, and Ashlyn Davis hauled in 10 rebounds to go with six points.

Neither team shot well in the defensive battle – both around 32 percent. Westwood was 14 of 43 and Panorama was 15 of 47. Both teams made six 3-pointers.

“Knowing our ability to play defense and knowing that defense wins championships, we came out strong and relied on our coaching and our physical abilities.” Sellers said.

Westwood finishes with a 22-1 record with its first state tournament appearance since 2001.

“I’m so proud of these girls. They weren’t even born the last time we were here,” Johnson said. “This group of girls have really earmarked the legacy. No other Westwood team has ever made it to the state semis, and that’s a really cool legacy that these girls have left, and I’m super proud of them.”

The Panthers (25-1) say they’re up to the challenge of facing mighty Dike-New Hartford at 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

“I think everybody’s tall down here, but really it’s more about us, trying to find ways that we do things,” Boettcher said. “We’re gonna pressure them the length of the floor the entire game. That’s just what we do. “

--Chris Short | @SBLiveIA