NORTH SIOUX CITY – Dakota Valley locked down defensively Friday evening and came away with a 62-31 Dakota XII Conference win over Canton.
The Panthers, playing their home and conference opener, held the visiting C-Hawks without a field goal for over 10 minutes between the second and third quarters in moving to 3-0 overall.
“The second quarter theIR only two points they got were from the free throw line because we didn’t move our feet,” said Dakota Valley coach Tammy Lilly. “We did a very good job of containing the areas we knew they wanted to attack.”
Peyton Wingert, a 5-foot-10 senior, led the way for Dakota Valley with 24 points, her second game of 20-plus points this season. Wingert had 13 in the first half as the Panthers took a 26-14 led into intermission.
“She does a good job of attacking the bucket. That makes it had to stop her because she attacks the bucket hard,” said Lilly. “We had some other kids step up and hit some shots and that makes it harder for them to guard Peyton.”
Morgan Tritz, a 5-6 sophomore, chipped in 10 points while Madisyn Heeren, a 5-10 senior, added eight points and 11 rebounds.
Dakota Valley outrebounded a smaller C-Hawks (0-3) team 47-36 as Alyssa Johnson, a third senior starter, pulled down nine missed shots and Wingert had seven.
The task gets bigger for the Panthers as they face a game against top-ranked (Class B) Warner at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon. Warner was a state tournament qualifier a year ago.
“The focus will be on our defense, talking on the floor, moving without the ball and make sure we find bodies to box out,” said Lilly, in her eighth year. “Warner is very tall and they are aggressive to the board, we have to find bodies and make sure we seal hard.”
It will be the final game before Christmas break for Dakota Valley, which opens its post-Christmas slate against second-ranked (A) Lennox, the state runner-up last winter.
“We play an incredibly challenging schedule, so night in and night out we get to learn things about ourselves,” said Lilly. “That will prepare us for the end of the year.”
Mason Tieszen had 11 points and Jada Lundstrom 10 for Canton, which struggled from the field, hitting 15 of 54 shots in the game.