Dodger girls lose to Valley

Pulling off a major upset just wasn’t quite in the cards for the Fort Dodge girls basketball team here Tuesday night.

Despite staying within striking distance for most of the game, the Dodgers (3-12 overall) dropped a hard-fought 65-50 decision to West Des Moines Valley at the FDSH gym.

“We gave a very spirited effort,” Dodger head coach Scott Timmerman said. “I thought our girls worked together probably better (Tuesday) than any time in the last year. On either end of the court, we were maybe a couple of possessions away from turning the tide in our favor.”

Ashley Altman, a 5-foot-10 junior, sparked Fort Dodge with a career-high 16 points.

“Ashley stepped up big for us,” said Timmerman. “She continues to gain confidence in her outside shot, which will only help open up more things inside.”

Sophomore Lani Van Zyl also contributed 11 points for the Dodgers, while junior Tiana Mericle registered nine points and nine rebounds. As a collective unit, FDSH went 15-for-20 at the charity stripe and 7 of 16 from downtown.

“Offensively, this was one of our better performances of the season (the 50 points was the second highest single-game total of the year for FDSH),” Timmerman said. “I was hopeful our girls would be able to put the Johnston loss behind them (the Dodgers suffered a 63-35 road setback to the Dragons on Monday).”

After spotting the Tigers (12-3) a double-digit advantage through the first quarter, Fort Dodge outscored the visitors 30-27 over the middle two frames. The Dodgers actually trailed by only eight with 6:57 remaining, however, Valley closed out the contest on a 12-5 burst.

“This was definitely a step in the right direction against a Valley team that will be in our substate,” said Timmerman. “We just need to start believing now that we’re going to win versus expecting to lose.”

Madi Agey (16) and Suha Hannoon (12) were the offensive catalysts for the Tigers, who prevailed for a seventh time in their last eight outings. Valley’s only losses this season have come against ranked Class 5A foes West Des Moines Dowling, Southeast Polk and Mason City.

The Tigers committed just 13 turnovers compared to 26 for Fort Dodge.

“Our girls need to have the same type of focus and intensity against Marshalltown,” Timmerman said. “We can’t afford to play down to our level of competition.”

Aiming to snap their five-game slide, the Dodgers welcome the Bobcats (3-14) for a CIC Northern Division matchup on Friday. Marshalltown was handed its sixth straight loss last night, falling to No. 4 Dowling by a lopsided 66-28 count.