Dodger boys upset No. 6 Urbandale

Fort Dodge boys basketball fans witnessed a memorable performance by the home team here Friday night.

Saving their best for last, the Dodgers (3-6 overall) pulled off a thrilling 63-61 upset over sixth-ranked (Class 4A) Urbandale inside the FDSH gym.

Down by seven points entering the fourth quarter, Fort Dodge outscored the J-Hawks 19-10 the rest of the way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and snap a mini two-game losing streak in the process.

“I told our guys in the locker room this is one of the best wins I’ve ever been a part of,” Dodger head coach Tom Daniel said. “When you play teams like (Urbandale), you have to give yourselves a chance at the end. Our guys came out with great energy and intensity and never backed down. I was very lucky to have a front row seat to watch it all (last night).”

Juniors JC Hatcher and Andrew Stover sparked the balanced Fort Dodge offensive charge with 16 points a piece on a combined 11-for-22 shooting. Tyler Vaughn, a senior, also contributed 13 points for the Dodgers, who climbed out of an 11-point hole early in the second half.

“We’ve been hanging around in all of our games, and as a program, we’ve been talking about taking that next step,” said Stover, who poured in the last 12 points for FDSH. “At the same time, we definitely don’t want this to be our high point of the season.”

Trailing the entire contest, FDSH eventually knotted the score at 51-51 on four straight Zach Martinson free throws – following a J-Hawk technical – with 5:25 remaining. Urbandale (9-2) briefly jumped back in front on its next possession with a triple from Denny Agic, but the Dodgers finished on a furious 12-7 burst down the stretch to narrowly escape after a potential game-winning longball from Austin Shappell rimmed out at the buzzer.

“My shots were open and just came easy,” Stover said. “Credit my teammates for finding me in the fourth quarter.”

Fort Dodge shot 44.4 percent (20-for-45) from the field, while going 8 of 14 behind the arc. The Dodgers also went 15-for-21 at the charity stripe.

“I’ve been asking our guys to clean up their little mistakes, and we were able to do that,” said Daniel. “We didn’t turn the ball over on offense (FDSH committed 14 turnovers) and just played with a different type of confidence level. I was so proud of our effort.”

Reserve Jaylen Alexander paced the visitors with 14 points. Shappell (12), Iowa State football recruit Allen Lazard (10) and Agic (10) all reached double figures in scoring as well for Urbandale, which saw its six-game win streak snapped in the loss.

Next action for the Dodgers is Tuesday at Waterloo West (4-4). The Wahawks dropped a 59-46 decision Friday at Cedar Falls.