Lucky Number 7: Wolverines returning to State tournament

DNH senior Jadyn Petersen, Maryn Bixby and Payton Petersen celebrate as freshman Payton Foster checks out of a career night for Foster and a 63-35 win over A-P to qualify for State.
CJ Eilers
Regional Sports Editor
CEDAR FALLS - Even board games at the Petersen household can be competitive.
But the rest of the world has seen that drive on the court from Jadyn and Payton Petersen over the last four years. 
“Anything competitive is my thing,” Jadyn Petersen said. “Being a part of any team brings that out in me, so every sport I get to play in is fun for me.”
That competitiveness is one of many factors that have driven Dike-New Hartford girls basketball to new heights, most recently a 63-35 win over rival Aplington-Parkersburg on Wednesday to qualify for the State Basketball Tournament in Des Moines for the seventh season in a row.
“Right now, I’m seeing older sisters of current kids here hugging their young siblings,” Dike-New Hartford coach Bruce Dall said. “They’re the ones who helped start this. Ellie Foster over there hugging her sister, Peyton, was one those first State teams. I feel so blessed to work with these girls and have such a great team this year.”
The Falcons (19-4) were the last team standing in the Wolverines’ way of a seventh trip to Wells Fargo Arena, and the two NICL Central teams have seen each other six times over the last two seasons. 
“When you play someone three times, they’re gonna know what you want to do,” Dall said. “It’s hard against a good team like A-P. We had to find other ways to win than we have before.”
DNH found their answer immediately in freshman Payton Foster. The Wolverines’ point guard scored 14 of their first 18 points, including four threes. She’d hit another triple before halftime as the Wolverines led 33-21. 
“[A-P] was double-teaming down below, which took away things for Jadyn and Payton,” Foster said. “They found me on the perimeter and I made shots. Even when I missed, they were telling me to keep shooting. These seniors have been here before. They’re always supporting me and my teammates to work hard in practice to prepare us.”
“This was special for Peyton and it will be a game she remembers, and we’ll all remember what she did,” Petersen said. “She picked things up when we needed it.”
The Wolverines evened out their scoring in the second half, driving past the Falcons 30-14 to secure their coveted State berth. This marks the fourth trip to State for the current senior class and the Wolverines will look to also earn their fourth Class 2A championship in as many years. 
 “I'm super grateful to get down there my senior year,” senior Maryn Bixby said. “We looked at pictures of us down at State three years ago and I’m not taking the fourth trip for granted.”
DNH (23-2) will face Cascade (17-6) on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. The winner will advance to Friday’s semifinals at 10:00 a.m.  


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