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Dover-Eyota rides defense to spot in section girls semifinals

Feb. 26—ROCHESTER — The shots aren't necessarily going to drop at a high rate for the Dover-Eyota girls basketball team.

"We do have trouble shooting," D-E longtime coach Brian Harris said. "All year, we've had trouble with it."

No matter. The Eagles have made a habit of winning anyway.

They kept that up Monday in the Section 1, Class 2A quarterfinals, downing Three Rivers Conference rival Plainview-Elgin-Millville 56-37 at Mayo Civic Arena.

D-E did it its way. That is, using a fastbreaking offense and playing stout and harassing defense in taking the Bulldogs down for the third consecutive time this season.

One of its main goals was to keep P-E-M standout Alyvia Engler to a dull roar or less. Engler, a sophomore guard, was the third leading scorer in the Three Rivers this past regular season.

D-E sure got that done. Using its towering inside players (6-foot juniors Madi Mullikin and Miranda Palmby) and quick perimeter defenders, there just wasn't much available all game for Engler. She got just a handful of shots and was limited to a scant six points.

"I thought we played great in both halves," said Harris, whose No. 4-seeded Eagles moved to 22-6 and will play No. 1 seed Winona Cotter at 11 a.m. in Saturday's semifinals. "(P-E-M) is a very good team. They've got 18 wins on the season (18-10 overall) and they are a very high-scoring team. But defensively, I just thought we shut them down. We wanted to take their two best scorers out of the game (Engler and Haylee Barton), and I thought we did a fabulous job of that."

Engler and Barton combined for 18 points.

All of that Dover-Eyota defense led to a rash of Bulldogs turnovers, few open looks at the basket and a miniscule 11 first-half points. The Eagles led 27-11 at the break and were never threatened the rest of the night.

D-E made sure P-E-M never got a whiff of confidence the second half.

"At halftime, we had a talk," said D-E's Mullikin, who led all scorers with 16 points and canned three 3-pointers. "We were going to bring the intensity and never give it up. I thought we really took it to them in the second half."

Up next for D-E is a Ramblers team that would seem a daunting opponent for the Eagles. Cotter is the tournament's top seed and is ranked 10th in the state. D-E is ranked 18th.

Still, the Eagles say they will show up confident. That makes sense, considering history is on their side. In the teams' only meeting this season, Dec. 21, Dover-Eyota walked away a 60-58 winner.

"We beat them last time and we're going to do it again," Mullikin said. "I mean, we are confident. You have to bring confidence to the game."

Dover-Eyota 56, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 37

PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (37)

Allie Sveen 9 P, 3 3-PT; Ainsley Schwantz 2 P; Maryn Kreofsky 1 P; Alyvia Engler 6 P, 1 3-PT; Haylee Barton 12 P, 1 3-PT; Julia Foss 7 P, 1 3-PT.

DOVER-EYOTA (56)

Jayda Davis 9 P, 1 3-PT; Emirson Brehmer 8 P; Nora Pristash 6 P, 2 3-PT; Isabel Duellman 9 P, 1 3-PT; Miranda Palmby 8 P; Madi Mullikin 16 P, 3 3-PT.

Halftime: DE 27, PEM 11.

Free throws: PEM 7-16, DE 3-4.

Three-point goals: PEM 6, DE 7.

As the No. 1 seed taking on the 8 seed, Winona Cotter figured to have a relatively routine job in advancing to the section semifinals.

It did turn out that way. Cotter built a 13-point halftime lead and then was never pushed after that in running its record to 23-5.

The No. 10-ranked Ramblers used another glowing performance from 5-foot-10 forward Clarissa Sauer. The junior pumped in 26 points and hit three 3-pointers. But she wasn't alone in supplying big offense. Senior Madison Hazelton was also up to the task, scoring 23 points and also bagging three treys.

Gabby Molina had 19 points for Triton, which finished its season 17-11.

Cotter plays No. 4 seed Dover-Eyota at 11 a.m. Saturday in the section semifinals.

Winona Cotter 68, Triton 53

TRITON (53)

Reagan Essig 5 P, 1 3-PT; Rainey Dobbs 1 P; Gabby Molina 19 P, 3 3-PT; Ella Thomas 6 P; Jozey Boe 3 P, 1 3-PT; Keanna Molina 13 P, 1 3-PT; Olivia Weber 6 P.

WINONA COTTER (68)

Lili Herber 2 P; Katelyn Ubl 6 P, 2 3-PT; Kada Threinen 2 P; Madison Hazelton 23 P, 3 3-PT; Camrie Macal 7 P; Averi Spalding 2 P; Clarissa Sauer 26 P, 3 3-PT.

Halftime: COTT 40, TRI 27.

Free throws: TRI 7-12, COTT 8-10.

Three-point goals: TRI 6, COTT 8.