FD girls back in action

Looking to stay on the winning track, the Fort Dodge girls basketball team returns to the court for a pair of games this week.

The Dodgers (1-0 overall) host Des Moines North tonight for a 6:15 p.m. tip prior to the boys contest. FDSH will then welcome No. 8 (Class 5A) Sioux City West on Friday in a 7:45 p.m. start time.

In its season opener last Tuesday, Fort Dodge earned a 58-56 comeback victory at Des Moines Hoover. Tiana Mericle, a senior, registered a double-double for the Dodgers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Lani Van Zyl and sophomore Madi Bennett each added 11 points.

As a team, Fort Dodge shot 51.2 percent (21-for-41) from the field against the Huskies, while dishing out 17 assists compared to just 14 turnovers.

“We hope to come out (this evening) and create some turnovers by picking up our intensity on defense a little bit,” FDSH head coach Scott Timmerman said. “The last couple of years we’ve had to react to what the other teams were doing, but now we want to control the tempo of the game.”

Following consecutive lopsided defeats to Pella (91-21) and Marshalltown (61-23), the Polar Bears are hoping to rebound. North has actually dropped 25 straight games since claiming a 36-35 triumph over the Dodgers back on Jan. 31 of 2012. Seniors Kenya Williams (9.0 points a night) and Sebrina Dixon (4.0) are the top offensive threats for the Polar Bears, who have been held to only 15 total field goals through their first two outings. North has committed 56 turnovers so far this year.

“(The Polar Bears) have already played a couple of games, and the results have been the same as before,” said Timmerman. “I think they’re going to improve, though, under their new coach as the year goes on. Coach (Haywood) Boston has been around for a long time, and I expect them to keep getting better as they learn his system. We anticipate them coming out in a 2-3 zone (defense), so we hope to work the ball inside. We need to knock down a couple of outside shots, too, to extend the zone the more they pack it in.”

Behind a career-high 37 points and 12 rebounds from senior Tanya Meyer, the Wolverines (1-0) easily downed Lawton-Bronson by an 81-53 final a week ago. Meyer, a 6-foot-0 forward, is a Northwest Missouri State recruit. She finished second in 5A in scoring last season at 19.6 points per game.

Junior Sammie Birkes (15.0) and sophomore Rachel Knutson-Kobold (11.0) are the other main weapons for West, which set a new school-record with 18 wins during the 2012-13 campaign.

“West likes to apply a lot of defensive pressure,” Timmerman said. “(The Wolverines) were in and out of the Top 10 last year, and it wasn’t a friendly welcoming when we played at their place. I’m confident we’re improved now, which will allow us to handle the pressure and create some quick baskets of our own.”

Senior forward Lexi Astor (concussion) of FDSH is listed as probable for tonight’s action.

Last year, the Dodgers pounded the Polar Bears by a 53-10 count, while falling to the Wolverines, 62-48.