Dike-New Hartford showed how quickly it can turn a game once it gets rolling.
The top-seeded Wolverines were getting all they could handle from eighth-seeded South Central Calhoun for 2 ½ quarters before the defending state champs pulled away to a 64-44 victory in the opening game of Class 2A play.
With a little more than a minute left in the third quarter, Dike-New Hartford led just 39-32. Five minutes later, the Wolverines (23-2) were up by 20 and on their way to another spot in the semifinals. They’ll try to take another step toward a second consecutive title at 10 a.m. on Friday.
As is often the case, the Petersen twins did much of the work for the Wolverines. Payton, the all-tournament captain as a freshman last year, led all scorers with 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. She got half of her eight baskets on putbacks as the Wolverines built a 22-5 edge in second-chance points.
Jadyn added 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Ellary Knock and Maryn Bixby each scored 12 for Dike-New Hartford, while Taylor Kvale contributed five points, five assists and hustling defense.
South Central Calhoun (19-6) reached the state tournament for just the second time after knocking off No. 11 West Hancock and fifth-ranked Sibley-Ocheyedan in regional play. Riley Batta led the Titans with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Sayer Steig had 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Dike-New Hartford cruised through its three regional games by an average margin of 59 points and looked to be headed for another easy win when it bolted to a 15-5 lead late in the first quarter, then stretched it to 28-10 midway through the second quarter.
But the Titans did not go quietly. They closed the half with an 11-3 run to trail 31-21 and chipped away in the third quarter, eventually drawing to 39-32 when Kvale fed Batta for a layup. But it got no closer
Bixby knocked down a 3-pointer, Jadyn Petersen converted a three-point play off a putback and the Wolverines built on their lead from there. They started the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to go up 56-37 and the lead grew to 61-41 when Knock hit a 3 with 4:05 left.
Not long after that, both coaches began clearing their benches. The Wolverines had a berth in the semifinals and the Titans had a state tournament experience to savor.