Waukee 60, Dowling Catholic 37
Top-ranked Waukee certainly looked the part in the opening game of the 2021 state tournament.
The Warriors made their first four 3-point shots to grab the early lead and rolled to a 60-37 victory over Dowling Catholic in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
Drake University recruit Katie Dinnebier led the way with an impressive stat line -- 23 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds. She went 8-for-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. The Warriors knocked down 13 3s in all, one short of the state tournament record.
Peyton Kelderman added 16 points for the Warriors, Megan Earney scored eight and Reagan Bartholomew had seven. Kelderman made her first five shots and finished 6-for-10, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Ninth-ranked Dowling Catholic came from behind to upset No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington in the regional finals, but No. 1 proved to be too much for the Maroons. Lexi Boles led Dowling with 13 points, while Emma Gipple and Margaret Tobias each scored six.
Waukee's crisp ball movement led to open shots against Dowling Catholic's zone defense and the Warriors capitalized. Four different players connected as the Warriors went 6-for-9 from 3-point range in racing to a 20-7 lead after one quarter. They kept it up in the second quarter and finished the period with a 9-0 run to open a 41-14 halftime lead.
The Warriors began the second half with a perfectly executed backdoor play that gave Dinnebier a layup and they led 48-16 after Earney knocked down a 3. Dowling never got closer than 21 after that.
Waukee also played an aggressive, trapping defense that resulted in 16 steals and forced 22 turnovers.
The Warriors, in the tournament for the eighth straight year, move into Thursday's semifinals with an 11-1 record. This is the last year as a single school for Waukee, which will split in the fall with the opening of Northwest High School.
Dowling Catholic, in the final eight for the fourth time in five years, finishes 11-7. All of the Maroons losses came against state tournament qualifiers.