Knock tests the press, passes milestone as D-NH beats A-P

Dike-New Hartford girls basketball celebrates their state quarterfinal win against Aplington-Parkersburg on Tuesday. (Jake Ryder photo)
Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

DES MOINES – Bruce Dall sees Ellie Knock as an inherent advantage for Dike-New Hartford girls basketball.

“When you can have a 6-foot-1 point guard, that’s good,” Dall, the D-NH head coach, put it plainly.

Knock surpassed a career milestone with her 1,000th career point on the big stage and helped an experienced Wolverine team take down NICL Central rivals Aplington-Parkersburg on Tuesday night, dispatching the Falcons 68-34 to advance in the Class 2A state tournament.

The Wolverines advanced to Friday’s semifinal against Sibley-Ocheyedan. Tuesday’s triumph was the third win against A-P this season and the 11th-consecutive win in the old rivalry.

“We’re pretty comfortable down here,” D-NH head coach Bruce Dall said. “We executed very, very well in those first and second quarters.”

Knock, a senior and William Jewell commit, steered the way. Early in the first quarter, she swiped a backcourt steal and cashed it in for her 1,000th career point. She now has 1,010 career points, on a night where all five starters put up double-digit scoring - Payton Petersen with 15, Knock, Maryn Bixby and Jadyn Petersen with 12 points and Camille Landphair with 11.

“It’s hard for other teams to defend that,” Knock said. “It’s just really special how we flow so well together, and I think it shows in the stats. … We just played strong across the board, I don’t think we really had a weak spot in our game.”

Leading 18-7 after the first quarter, D-NH asserted complete control with a 19-0 burst to start the second stanza and went to the locker room up 43-11 at halftime.

A-P head coach Brady Driscol threw more defensive pressure at D-NH’s backcourt this time around.

“We knew they were a very, very good team, and we just wanted to do something different that somebody hadn’t tried yet,” Driscol said. “Because what everyone else is trying is not working.”

Part of that was again a credit to Knock, who at 6-foot-1 deftly challenged A-P’s defenders at the point and was able to have the vision to find an outlet to break the press.

“We don’t want to wait and let their defense get set because they’re good defenders, quick,” Knock said. “Taking it to them really helped us tonight.”

Payton and Jadyn finished with double-doubles after each grabbing double-digit rebounds on Tuesday – Payton 15, including 10 off the offensive glass, and Jadyn 12. Knock added eight boards, and D-NH outrebounded A-P as a team 48-23.

A-P shot just 17 percent as a team from the floor in the first half.

“We didn’t get too many quality shots in that first half,” Driscol said. “We found a little more comfort in the second half. … And it’s tough shooting if you haven’t been here before. It’s brand new for this group, while for [D-NH] it’s like their second home. … We just tried to weather the storm.”

Aplington-Parkersburg was making its first trip to state since 2019. The Falcons started the season unranked, and in the final rankings were the last ones in at No. 15. Now, they finished in the top eight at state with a 20-5 final record.

“We knew we would have to put together our best game ever to beat them,” A-P junior Kendall Riherd said. “But we never gave up. We started down big time and just kept battling.”

Riherd led the Falcons with 10 points and will be one of the key returners for A-P next season.

“I hope we remember this fun experience, all of it,” Riherd said. “And that it just pushes ourselves for next year, so this summer, everyone works hard to get here again.”

It was the final game for A-P seniors Ellen Waller, Kennedy Lind and Adison Williamson.

“I’m proud of our team,” Waller said, “and how we handled some of our losses earlier in the season and just came back and got after it every day.

“I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other community. … It’s definitely something to be proud about and I think it hopefully will push the younger girls to keep working hard to make sure it’s something that happens more than once every four years. It doesn’t happen with just one practice a day in the winter but getting in the gym on your own time.”


Dike-New Hartford (24-1)


Sibley-Ocheyedan (22-3)

Vital info: 10 a.m. on Friday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Class 2A state semifinal

At stake: The winner will play either Central Lyon or Pocahontas Area in the 2A state championship game at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.

About the Generals: Sibley-Ocheyedan walloped Iowa City Regina, 60-39, to advance to the semis. … The Generals’ only losses this season were two games against undefeated Central Lyon and a 49-40 loss to West Lyon in the final game before the postseason. … Madison Brouwer, a 6-foot South Dakota cross country and track and field commit, poured in 28 points with 10 rebounds and five steals in the quarterfinal victory on Tuesday. She’s averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds this season. … Marissa Ackerman and Bria Wasmund, both seniors, average 13.5 and 11.2 points, respectively.



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