It was a game of pure domination as the Waukee High School girls basketball team opened up the 2019-20 state tournament with a resounding 76-36 victory over Sioux City East to begin the month of March. That marked one of the highest margins of victory in a girls’ state tournament game in state history.


Right from the word go the Warriors seemed as in control as possible. The team never experienced a deficit and enjoyed multiple eight and ten-point runs throughout the contest. Across the landscape of the 2019-20 season, Waukee found a knack for turning their opponents’ strengths against them and that’s exactly what happened to open up state tournament action. Sioux City East marched into the game with one of Class 5A’s best marks in fouls drawn and free-throws made (4th - 272 made). Waukee changed that in a hurry as they shut down the Black Raiders from the free-throw line in the first quarter and just 50 percent as the first half concluded. Overall, Sioux City East had their free-throw production dwarfed to just 50 percent. Meanwhile, Waukee’s offense shot 83 percent across the first quarter and 72 percent across the entire first half of play from the charity stripe.


“When you get to this level and playing this type of competition, the team that is aggressive and sets the tone defensively ends up doing really well in the game,” said head coach Chris Guess.


That defensive dominance was shown prominently as well with Waukee forcing 17 turnovers for the Black Raiders, one of their highest marks of the season. Waukee’s ability to capitalize on opponents’ mistakes is what took the team to further heights as the Warriors collected 26 points off of turnovers for the game.


The Warriors were all that and more, jumping out of the gates with a 29-9 first-quarter lead on the heels of a 71 percent shooting mark from the floor. They then continued that across the second quarter on a 16-7 run. What has been the offensive bread and butter for Waukee this season has been their three-point shooting efforts and that was on full display Monday. The Warriors connected on 75 percent of their beyond-the-arc shots which allowed Waukee to hold a commanding lead at the half 45-16.


That’s not to say that production in the paint was any less impactful. After all, 32 of Waukee’s 76 points came from inside the paint. That was a significant aspect that helped Waukee outscore Sioux City East in all four quarters of play. Waukee’s second-half run included a 20 point performance in the third quarter and an 11-point mark across the final period. Of course, the pace of play set by Waukee had a lot to do with the success as well, something which Katie Dinnebier mentioned after the game.


“We knew we had to set a fast tempo early and keep that tempo in order to help us out here today,” said Dinnebier


The junior sharpshooter had a game to remember herself connecting on 7-of-9 shots from the floor en route to 24 points. That marked the second straight season Dinnebier opened up the state tournament with a 20-plus point outing. Fellow junior Megan Earney was next up in line offensively with 13 points on 5-of-8 from field goal range and a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc.


As special as those performances were, the talented post presence known as Taryn Reitsma was just as special in the game, connecting on a double-double complete with eleven points and ten rebounds, part of a 29 rebound performance by the Warriors.Overall it was as near perfect as a state tournament game could get. Waukee ended up shooting 55 percent from the floor as a team complete with a 50 percent shooting mark from three-point range.


The win ensures the Warriors advance to the semi-final round of the state tournament and pushes their winning streak to 12 straight victories. Their next game will come on Thursday, Mar. 5 beginning at 11:45 a.m. as they battle Waterloo West. This will be the first match-up between these two squads in state tournament action.