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Dakota Christian defeats Andes Central to claim district crown; next up, Region 6B title matchup

(Claire Meador/Republic) Dakota Christian's Sara De Waard, right, goes up for a layup during the girls' District 12B championship game Friday at the Corn Palace.

Using a combination of size and the second-half play of freshman guard Brooklyn Vander Pol, Dakota Christian beat Andes Central 60-33 Friday at the Corn Palace to claim the District 12B girls' basketball title.

With the win, Dakota Christian moves to the Region 6B championship game March 3 at the Corn Palace.

Vander Pol scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter, helping Dakota Christian pull away and secure the win.

According to Dakota Christian coach Shane Niewenhuis, Vander Pol has come a long way this season.

"She started junior varsity and played three quarters of varsity (during the regular season). With injuries to other girls, she got thrown into it and she really has responded," said Niewenhuis. "She's been playing like a senior."

The game was tied at 6 when the Cadets closed out the first quarter with a 10-6 lead.

Andes Central was held scoreless over the last four and a half minutes of the opening quarter and that continued three minutes into the second.

Dakota Christian took advantage, as seniors Sara De Waard and Laurel Zomer combined for six points from inside, helping the Cadets to a 16-6 lead.

The Cadets opened the lead to 24-11 but Andes Central, led by Kellie Winckler's six straight points, pulled to within seven, 24-17.

Dakota Christian scored the last three points of the half and led 27-19 at intermission.

After that, it was all Dakota Christian to open the third quarter as the Cadets went on a 14-6 run.

Andes Central's offensive problems continued into the fourth quarter as the Eagles managed only six points.

"Our girls came to play tonight," said Niewenhuis. "We played a box-and-one on Winckler and Jessica Kaemingk really shut her down in the first half. I guess that was kind of the key to the game."

Vander Pol also had nine assists for Dakota Christian. De Waard had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Zomer had 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Cadets (9-13) were 22-of-50 for 44 percent from the field and 16-of-26 for 62 percent from the free-throw line.

Dakota Christian outrebounded Andes Central 41-13 and turned the ball over 14 times.

Andes Central's first-half drought was nothing new, according to coach Red Allen.

"That's the way it's been all year," said Allen. "We'll have stretches where we score 30 points in a quarter and then we'll have another stretch where we only score two or three points. But they did a great job of shutting down our big girl, Kellie (Winckler). She averages 20 points a game and she had eight tonight. But I'm proud of our girls. They played hard."

Andes Central was led by Kristy Winckler, with 15 points. Morgan Flying Hawk had four steals.

Andes Central (7-14) made 11 of 33 field goals for 33 percent and six of nine free throws for 67 percent.

The Eagles committed 13 turnovers.