Three-peat complete: Dike-New Hartford controls Lions to reign again as 2A champs

D-NH seniors Ellary Knock and Camille Landphair hoist the 2023 state championship trophy. (Jake Ryder photo)
Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

DES MOINES – Dike-New Hartford girls basketball’s starting five felt they had to keep pushing until the final buzzer on Saturday night.

No rest. And in the end, no doubt.

The Wolverines won their third-consecutive Class 2A state title on Saturday night, leading start-to-finish in a 64-49 triumph over Central Lyon.

D-NH posted a final record of 26-1 and sent seniors Camille Landphair and Ellary Knock out as three-time state champions.

All five starters – Landphair, Knock, Jadyn Petersen, Payton Petersen and Maryn Bixby – logged at least 30 minutes on Saturday, as they have in most of the games that didn’t have a continuous clock running.

“Having five people that can score is tremendous,” Payton Petersen said. “That’s a huge advantage to spread the ball around and make a defense think about who to guard, and for us to see who has a mismatch.”

Payton Petersen scored 19 points and 11 rebounds and was named the 2A all-tournament team captain for the third year in a row. Jadyn Petersen joined her sister on the all-tournament team and scored 19 points with nine rebounds. 

“Their heart and desire, the will, the competitiveness, you can see it,” D-NH head coach Bruce Dall said. “They’re not letting up ever. It’s pretty incredible and unbelievable that they’re able to do that.”

Bixby added 13 points and four steals and Knock had eight points, five rebounds and four assists.

“Anybody could do it at any time,” Knock said. “It’s the best feeling to know you can count on your teammates like that, and know that they’re counting on you.”

The previous morning’s close call against Sibley-Ocheyedan in the semifinals provided motivation for the final.

Leading 32-21 at halftime, D-NH put together a 10-4 run in the third quarter, including five free throws from Landphair and bookended by buckets from Jadyn Petersen, and had their largest lead of the game at 42-25.

“The game before we started out slow in the second half,” Payton Petersen said. “We knew that’s not what we were gonna do this time.”

The Lions strung together five points in the fourth quarter to cut it within 57-47. They never got any closer in the second half, but the Wolverines refused to let their guard down.

“You gotta keep the pedal down the whole game,” Bixby said. “You can’t take a sigh of relief, because teams can come back all the time. It can happen to anyone.”

Moments later, Jadyn hit one of two free throws and Payton put back her sister’s miss to push the lead back to 13.

The Wolverines ate up as much clock as they needed to in the home stretch, moving the ball around as Central Lyon played tough defense.

“We’re a faster-paced team, but we were able to slow it down at some points just to keep the ball in our hands,” Jadyn said.

Dike-New Hartford is only the ninth program in IGHSAU history to win at least three state titles in a row – Newell-Fonda was the most recent to do it in 2019-2021.

In the coaching realm, Bruce Dall is now one of five coaches to win at least four state titles, joining Dick Jungers of Newell-Fonda with four. Scott DeJong (7, Ankeny Centennial/Ankeny); Bob and Sharon Hansen (6, Des Moines East/Dowling Catholic); Tom Lilly (5, Cedar Rapids Xavier) are the only coaches with more.

“I’m sure one day I’m gonna look back and be like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,’” Dall said. “But I’m just enjoying the moment right now. When I told my wife I was going to get my coaching certificate in 1995, I never thought anything like this was even possible.”

That goes equally for seniors Landphair and Knock, cutting down the net for the third time on Saturday night as part of a Wolverine team that hasn’t lost in Des Moines since a 3A semifinal loss to North Polk when they were freshmen.

“When that buzzer went off, it was unreal,” Landphair said. “Dike-New Hartford basketball has meant so much to me these past four years. I looked forward to it every day after school, just being with the girls in that environment, and it’s the most positive environment you can be in. Our coaching staff just wants the best for our girls, and they’ll continue to support Ellie and I after basketball. That’s what makes Dike-New Hartford basketball so great.”

This year’s junior class will have a three-trophy, nine-game state tournament winning streak to uphold. Probably won’t need more motivation than that.

“Just have fun with each other,” Knock said of her final piece of advice to the girls she’s spent countless hours in gyms, buses and arenas with. “That’s how you win games - make it fun.”



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