Dodger boys win at Johnston

JOHNSTON – Behind a strong defensive effort, the Fort Dodge boys basketball team posted a convincing 46-31 road victory over Johnston Monday night.

Leading by just four points at the half, the Dodgers (4-8 overall) pulled away from the Dragons with a 17-2 run in the third quarter.

“In the third quarter, we kind of stifled (Johnston) with our zone (defense),” FDSH head coach Tom Daniel said. “Our guys just made a commitment to play defense.

“It might not have been a masterpiece, but it looked pretty good to me.”

Tyler Vaughn, a senior, sparked Fort Dodge with a game-high 14 points and four assists.

Juniors Zach Martinson (11) and JC Hatcher (10) each reached double figures in scoring as well for the Dodgers, who committed just six turnovers in the game.

Despite the victory, Fort Dodge went only 9-for-20 from the free throw line and 3 of 14 outside the arc.

“We pressed a little bit and were able to get some turnovers,” said Daniel. “I was very proud of how our guys rallied and showed resiliency after a little letdown against Ames (FDSH suffered a 60-55 setback to the Little Cyclones on Friday).”

Nick Stitzell tallied 10 points for Johnston (6-7), while Div. I prospect Jay Knuth added eight.

“Knuth didn’t score until the fourth quarter, so credit our guys for holding him down (Knuth came in averaging 17.8 points per game),” Daniel said. “To beat two consistently respected programs like (then-No. 6 Class 4A) Urbandale and Johston in the same season is a big accomplishment. I was very happy with our effort.”

With the win, Fort Dodge downed the Dragons for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign.

The Dodgers host 10th-ranked (4A) and defending state quarterfinalist West Des Moines Valley (10-3) tonight.