DNH staves off Sioux Central 58-44, ascend to historic fourth championship

DNH senior Payton Petersen finished with 28 points, 19 boards and four blocks in Friday's 58-44 State semifinal win over Sioux Central. The Wolverines will take on Panorama in the Class 2A State Championship on Saturday.
CJ Eilers
Regional Sports Editor
DES MOINES - Surprisingly, being triple teamed on possessions can be fun for Payton Petersen. 
“I have to make a decision soon before they tripled down on me, find that open teammate,” Payton said. “I think that's what I've had to grow a lot in this year. That’s the fun part, kicking it out to someone like Maryn (Bixby) or Payton (Foster) and I’m confident they can hit that three.”
Yet it would be Payton’s yeoman’s work under the basket, even when triple teamed, that pushed Dike-New Hartford over Sioux Central 58-44 in Friday’s Class 2A semifinal, advancing the Wolverines their fourth championship game in as many years. 
“We knew Sioux Central was one of the most aggressive teams here and they could shoot the three,” coach Bruce Dall said. “They finish well on runouts. Just a very great basketball team, that’s for sure.” 
The Rebels had their hearts set on turning the Wolverines over whenever possible, stripping the ball from both Petersens in the paint and pushing the ball to keep the first quarter close. The Wolverines countered with a dominant game on the boards, pulling down 23 offensive rebounds and sticking with Payton Petersen underneath for 15 points going into halftime up 27-22. 
“Our coaches told us we needed to keep the ball in our possession as many rebounds as we could,” Jadyn Petersen said. “That was the big emphasis and taking care of the ball. We definitely had some turnovers that were unnecessary, but we held on to the ball as much as we could.”
The third quarter saw the Wolverines make three triples and secure the ball better to outscore the Rebels 18-11. Two of DNH’s five threes came from freshman Payton Foster, who had spent watching the Wolverines compete at State from the stands and kept focused on beating the Sioux Central press. 
“Us controlling the game was the difference,” Foster said. “Knowing when to slow down, speed up was a key to this game. [Sioux Central] played hard to the last second and credit to them. This is a game I’ve played forever, so I wanted to go out there and have my teammates’ backs, like they have for me all season.” 
 The Rebels made one final push, scoring the first six points of the fourth quarter. But DNH’s dedication on the boards continued to pay off, securing 50 rebounds in the game. Payton Petersen would pull down 19 of those boards and come up with a couple buckets to cement the Wolverines’ double-digit lead. 
“If you look at the game as a whole, Sioux Central may have got more steals than us, but we got more rebounds and were able to pound the ball inside,” Dall said. “It’s a contrast of styles. I think switching over to our 1-3-1 zone was a big deal, stopping them from penetrating.”
Payton Petersen finished with 28 points, 19 boards and four blocks. Bixby joined her in double figures with 11 points, six assists and four steals. Jadyn Petersen totaled 16 boards, seven points, three blocks and three steals. Foster had nine points and five assists. 
The Wolverines advance to the Class 2A championship for the fourth consecutive year on Saturday, facing two seed Panorama (25-1). DNH is on the precipice of history as only one other program has won four championships in a row (Ankeny, 2002-05). 
“There’s really no words for it,” Dall said. “It comes down to all the work they’ve done weightlifting, coming in over the summer, working on their shooting and just being multi-sport athletes. I'm just proud of them because of who they are.”
Both Petersens played roles on the 2021 team and Bixby dressed varsity that season. All three look to make their final high school game a win, and a momentous one for the Iowa Girl at that. But that’s hardly different from any game they compete in. 
“I’m super grateful I’ve grown up with the Dike-New Hartford basketball program,” Payton said. “I realize how special this program is, how special this game is and how special the people at DNH are.”
“We definitely want to leave it all out on the floor,” Jadyn said. “Like we do every game, we want to give it our best and pull up the younger kids so they have a great experience.”  


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