Dodgers set to face Maroons, Bobcats

Both the Fort Dodge boys and girls basketball teams return to the court for a pair of doubleheaders this week.

The Dodgers visit West Des Moines Dowling this evening. FDSH will then welcome Marshalltown for its CIC Northern Division opener on Friday.

Tip for each girls game is set for 6:15 p.m., followed by boys action at around 7:45 p.m.

After suffering a 68-60 home setback to Des Moines North last Tuesday, the Dodger boys (1-1 overall, 0-0 in the CIC Northern Division) are looking to rebound. Seniors JC Hatcher (17.5) and Zach Martinson (15.0) are the top offensive threats for Fort Dodge.

Martinson also pulls down a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 50 percent (8-for-16) from the field.

“North is a little underrated (the Polar Bears received nine votes in the latest Class 4A poll), but we just didn’t execute the way we needed to against them,” FDSH head coach Tom Daniel said.

Seniors Jack Green (22.0) and Eric Austin (10.0) anchor the Maroons (1-1), who earned four votes in the most recent 4A rankings. Dowling prevailed over Des Moines Roosevelt (49-47) in its opener, while falling at Davenport Central (61-56) on Friday.

“I think what we’ve seen on tape is a pretty disciplined defense, which is their calling card,” said Daniel of the Maroons. “We expect them to come out and play good ‘D’ (tonight).”

Marshalltown (0-2, 0-0) suffered back-to-back defeats to Des Moines Hoover (59-48) and Des Moines Roosevelt (64-52). Sophomore Aaron Hauser (17.0) and senior Dylan Diveney (12.5) are the main weapons for the Bobcats.

Since the start of the 2008-09 campaign, Fort Dodge and Marshalltown have split the past 10 meetings.

“We haven’t really looked forward to any advanced scouting on Marshalltown,” Daniel said. “Our goal is to win the CIC, so we have to beat (the Bobcats), particularly on our home court. It’s never easy, though, when we face them.”

On the girls side, the Dodgers (3-0, 0-0) are riding a wave of momentum after knocking off No. 8 Sioux City West here Friday by a 70-67 count. FDSH has already matched its victory total from the two previous seasons combined.

Seniors Tiana Mericle (14.7) and Ashley Altman (12.3) lead the way for the Dodgers. Mericle is shooting 79.2 percent (19 of 24) from the field, while grabbing 8.3 rebounds a night. Altman also collects a team-high 10 boards per game.

“I think each game the girls are getting a little better,” said Fort Dodge head coach Scott Timmerman. “I want our girls to be proud of the way they played on Friday, but not content. We’re continuing to work hard and grow as a team.”

No. 1 (Class 5A) and defending state runner-up Dowling (2-0) leans heavily on sophomore Becca Hittner (13.0) and senior Hayden Butler (12.0). In their first two games, the Maroons whipped Des Moines Roosevelt (71-34) and Des Moines Hoover (70-29).

“Dowling has a lot of height and is very experienced after being in the championship game last year,” Timmerman said. “Defensively, they do a real good job of inviting you to places you shouldn’t go, so we need to avoid getting up against the sideline and corners.”

Junior Samantha Hughes (10.8) and senior Emily Rebik (10.0) are the focal points for the Bobcats (2-2, 0-0), who have defeated the Dodgers four straight times. Marshalltown fell short at Boone on Saurday, 42-32.

“Marshalltown has had kind of an up-and-down season, but they’re still learning the system of their new coach (Stacy O’Hare),” said Timmerman. “I look to the two Hughes girls (Samantha and Amanda) as the keys to the game. They both touch the ball a lot and do a good job of rebounding.”