Dodger boys reverse field

Despite falling behind by as many as 16 points early in the game here Friday, the Fort Dodge boys never hit the panic button.

Instead, the Dodgers relied on JC Hatcher, Blake Wilder and a host of others to avenge an earlier defeat this season to Marshalltown, 64-63 inside the FDSH gym.

Hatcher scored a game-high 20 points, including a thunderous dunk to finish off a 21-point third quarter that tied the game at 50-all.

Wilder posted 13 points and nine rebounds, while Tyler Vaughn scored 11 and Krunal Thakor added eight off the bench for the Dodgers (5-9 overall, 2-2 in CIC Northern).

The Bobcats (5-12, 2-2), who earned a 53-52 victory on their own floor in the first meeting after ironically rallying from a double-digit deficit, hit 11 three-pointers – including nine in the first half – to build a 30-14 edge.

“Credit our kids because they got down by 16, but they never tried to find that 16-point play out there,” FDSH head coach Tom Daniel said. “Instead, we chipped away, remained calm and worked our way back into it.

“This was a great win because we’ve been in this situation many times this year and we’ve started hoisting up three-pointers. We didn’t do that (Friday night).”

Fort Dodge really began its march in the third, scoring seven straight to start the quarter. Thakor’s second triple of the game finished off a 13-5 run and cut the deficit to 45-42. Marshalltown quickly scored four straight, but it was Hatcher and the Dodgers who won the quarter.

Hatcher ignited the crowd in the closing seconds, swiping the ball from Bobcat freshman Austin Hauser at midcourt and sending home a game-tying dunk.

“That really gave us a lift, and gave our crowd a lift as well,” Daniel said. “Give credit to our fans because we haven’t always given them a reason to cheer us on this year, but they’ve stuck with us through it all.

“JC really gave them a reason to get excited at the end of the third.”

Hatcher grabbed another steal to start the fourth, finishing it off to give Fort Dodge its first lead of the game at 52-50. The Dodgers would not surrender the advantage the rest of the way, despite Marshalltown’s best effort with the three-ball.

Andrew Stover, who scored seven, finished off a 14-4 run with just over a minute left, and Hatcher, who also had seven rebounds, converted a three-point play to seal the win after breaking free from the Marshalltown defense.

“JC didn’t shy away from the contact there at the end like a lot of high school kids do,” Daniel said. “Instead, he went up strong and his free throw was the difference.”

The Dodgers return to the road on Tuesday at Southeast Polk.