By ROSS THEDE
Two NICL East Division neighbors and rivals separated by 15 miles as the crow flies could have met somewhere in between or 45 miles south at Marshalltown High School.
After shooting just south of 25 percent for the game, Aplington-Parkersburg coach Aaron Thomas probably would have preferred any hardcourt in the tiny town of Stout to the spacious Roundhouse.
The Falcons found themselves down 15-2 after the first quarter and never caught up to Dike-New Hartford in Tuesday's Class 1A District 6 final, with the Wolverines winning the rubber match 49-31.
Dike-New Hartford, behind Sean Morgan's almost triple-double and Carson Parker's double-double, advances to face No. 8 New Hampton in Saturday's Substate 3 finale at Cedar Falls High School. The Chickasaws (19-3) edged Osage, 60-58, in their district final.
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD (16-9) - Carson Parker 5-12 7-9 17, Gabe Eiklenborg 2-3 1-2 5, Byron Fritch 2-7 2-2 6, Grant Kobriger 2-5 0-2 4, Sean Morgan 5-6 1-3 11, Jared Christensen 0-0 0-0 0, Tom Koop 0-0 0-0 0, Connor Neuroth 0-0 2-2 2, Marcus Luna 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Cuvelier 0-1 0-0 0, Maccoy Camarata 2-5 0-1 4, Jake Mulder 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18-40 13-21 49.
APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG (14-9) - Kollin Cuvelier 5-16 0-2 10, Alex Johnson 1-7 1-1 3, Tyler Peters 1-6 1-2 3, Dakota Cox 1-8 0-2 2, Aaron VanDyk 5-8 1-2 11, Jake Schipper 1-3 0-0 2, Cheney Hanken 0-1 0-0 0, Ross Cooper 0-6 0-0 0, Cody Ryan 0-0 0-0 0, Brady Frey 0-0 0-0 0, Clint Kannegieter 0-0 0-0 0, Richard Uhlenhopp 0-2 0-0 0, Dexter Cox 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 14-57 3-9 31.
3-Point Goals-D-NH 0-9, A-P 0-13. Rebounds-D-NH 38 (Morgan 13, Parker 10); A-P 27 (VanDyk 6). Total Fouls-D-NH 19, A-P 19. Fouled Out-none.
Parker, the Wolverines' 6-foot-5 senior center, finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots - seven of them in the first half. His simple presence on the court altered every other shot Aplington-Parkersburg thought about taking in the paint the rest of the way, and A-P finished 14-for-57 from the floor.
The Falcons opened 3-for-21 in the first half, with center Aaron VanDyk accounting for all of his team's points in a 23-7 deficit.
"I think we got caught up in the moment at times," said Thomas, "it's a big gym and a big game. Offensively we've been playing pretty well lately, but going into the half with Aaron VanDyk scoring all seven of our points is not par for us."
Aplington-Parkersburg outscored D-NH 13-6 in the third quarter and got as close as seven, 29-22, on Kollin Cuvelier's driving layup to open the fourth, but the Wolverines responded with a 7-0 run to break it open again.
Parker scored 11 of his game-high 17 in the fourth quarter alone, leading Dike-New Hartford into the district finals in just his sixth game back from injury. He also turned a steal at midcourt into a dunk with his well-taped right hand early in the third, and he pulled down 10 rebounds as well.
"I think we applied a lot more ball pressure than the last time we played them, and Carson Parker had been hurt up to that point and he's obviously a difference-maker," said D-NH coach Greg Moore. "We got some fast-break points and we rebounded a lot better too."
Parker had not played in either of the NICL East pairings against A-P. The Wolverines won the first time around, 59-39 in Dike, with A-P prevailing in the rematch in Parkersburg, 50-39.
Tuesday's rubber game was anything but in between.
Dike-New Hartford had a 12-0 lead before VanDyk posted up for his team's first two points with 3:23 left in the first quarter. The 6-7 senior center eventually finished with team-highs of 11 points and six rebounds.
Byron Fritch chipped in six points and Gabe Eiklenborg had five for the Wolverines, who shot 18-for-40 (45 percent) from the field and won the rebounding battle 38-27.
Aside from VanDyk's 11 points and Cuvelier's 10, no other Falcon scored more than three points. Neither team made a 3-pointer.