Fort Dodge faces Centennial, Urbandale

After regaining their winning form, the Fort Dodge boys and girls basketball teams will attempt to keep building momentum this week.

The Dodgers welcome Ankeny Centennial tonight. FDSH will then visit Urbandale on Friday.

Both girls contests will tip at 6:15 p.m., followed by boys action around 7:45 p.m.

In their last outing on Friday, the Fort Dodge boys (6-3 overall) used a Krunal Thakor buzzer-beating layup to narrowly escape with a 49-48 triumph at Des Moines Roosevelt. Seniors JC Hatcher (15.9), Blake Wilder (12.0) and Zach Martinson (10.2) spearhead the balanced offensive attack for the Dodgers, who have prevailed in three of their past four games.

“Hopefully, we can ride some of the momentum from the Roosevelt game right into (tonight),” FDSH head coach Tom Daniel said. “We need to be more competitive when we step out on the court against elite teams. Whether we win or lose, those 30-point blowouts have to go away. For us, it’s all about the energy, emotion and passion to start the game. It doesn’t give us much to work with if we’re lacking in those areas.”

Hatcher, who ranks 10th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 739 career points, also paces FDSH in total assists (31) and steals (11). Wilder (58) and Martinson (45) are Fort Dodge’s top rebounders.

The Dodgers own a perfect 5-0 mark at home this season, but are just 1-3 at home.

Junior Jay Schon (16.6), senior Jamie Montgomery (9.1) and junior Jordan Brunkow (8.8) are the main offensive weapons for the fifth-ranked (Class 4A) Jaguars (9-0), who are coming off a 67-40 rout of Ames. The 6-foot-7 Schon is being recruited by several Div. I programs, including Northern Iowa, Drake, Wichita State and Lehigh. Schon averages 7.6 rebounds a night, while shooting an impressive 71.3 percent (62 of 87) from the field.

Ankeny Centennial, which is holding opponents to only 40.0 points a night, has prevailed by double figures in eight of its nine victories.

“Schon is obviously the star centerpiece, but (the Jaguars) are scoring pretty consistently across the board,” Daniel said. “It doesn’t look like they make a lot of mistakes. When other teams have a little lull during the game, they just don’t.”

Catalysts for the J-Hawks (3-5) are senior Allen Lazard (12.9), junior Brody Egger (12.3) and senior Evan Stearns (9.5). Lazard, an Iowa State football commit, also leads in Urbandale in total boards (68), assists (29), steals (10) and blocks (8). The J-Hawks snapped a five-game slide on Friday with an 87-55 thumping of Mason City.

Last winter, the Dodgers upset then-No. 6 (4A) Urbandale here by a 63-61 final.

On the girls side, Fort Dodge (6-5) has rebounded from four consecutive losses with back-to-back wins at Des Moines Roosevelt (46-35) and Humboldt (62-43). Junior Lani Van Zyl (11.7) and senior Tiana Mericle (10.7) anchor the Dodgers, who have already doubled their victory total from the two previous seasons combined. Mericle has collected 95 rebounds, while firing at a 65.7 percent (46 of 70) clip from the field. Van Zyl has also accumulated 33 assists and 25 steals.

“If we shoot the ball like we did (last night), we can be very competitive,” FDSH head coach Scott Timmerman said. “Ankeny Centennial just fell out of the Top-10, but they have a giant true post player inside (6-foot-3 junior Jaali Winters) and pressure you defensively all over the place.”

The Jaguars (7-3) received seven votes in the latest 5A poll. Ankeny Centennial halted a mini two-game losing streak by pounding10th-ranked (5A) Ames a week ago, 50-19.

Winters (13.1) and senior Blair Silliman (10.8) are the focal points for Ankeny Centennial. Winters, a Creighton volleyball commit, has also delivered team-highs in rebounds (46) and blocks (20).

Urbandale (1-8) leans heavily on sophomores Kennedy Kracht (11.2) and Andrea Mataloni (10.2). The J-Hawks have suffered three straight setbacks since easily downing Des Moines North, 60-28. A year ago, Urbandale edged Fort Dodge in a 30-28 decision.