FD girls come up short

Fort Dodge’s two-game winning streak came to an end in the Dodger gym last night, but coach Scott Timmerman saw enough positives as his team moves into the second half of the season.

Centennial’s Jaali Winters, a 6-3 Creighton recruit, scored 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and the Jaguars forced 29 turnovers to post a 76-48 victory over Fort Dodge.

Strapped by three fouls in the first half, Winters recovered and scored 13 points in the third period alone as the visitors turned a relatively close game into another impressive win. Centennial (8-3) was coming off a 50-19 victory over No. 10 Ames last Friday that halted a two-game slide.

Despite the loss, Timmerman saw enough positives as his team moves forward with a 6-6 record. Fort Dodge had beaten Des Moines Roosevelt last Friday and Humboldt last night.

“We are not content where we are,” said Timmerman. “We’re 6-6 and we felt like we’ve left a couple of wins out there. We’ve got some of the best teams on our schedule coming up and we just need to get better every game and just keep growing. We are always working to get better.

“If we just wouldn’t have turned the ball over so much,” Timmerman added. “Their press didn’t really bother us once we got the ball in bounds. Our guards did a great job getting the ball up court. We had some trouble getting the ball in at times.”

Mallory Kilian led the Dodgers with 12 points while Tiana Mericle added 10. Madi Bennett had nine on three 3-pointers and Lani Van Zyl scored eight.

Kendyl Lindaman and Natsha Vipond scored 13 each for the Jaguars. Gabrielle Helmbrecht added 10.

Centennial rode its size advantage to several second chance opportunities and actually shot 53 times to the Dodgers’ 32. Both teams were just under 50 percent shooting. The Jaguars also had a 23-12 advantage at the free throw line.

“I thought we shot the ball well,” said Timmerman. “I was also impressed with Mericle’s defense. She was so aggressive. Defensively we thought we could match up with them. We have been working on our man-to-man defense. I was happy with the progress we’ve made with that.”

With Winters on the bench, the Dodgers scratched back from a 7-2 deficit to a 9-all tie with 3:45 to play in the first period. But the Jaguars went on a 10-0 run and it was 19-9. A three by Bennett and pair of Kilian free throws made it 19-14 after the first period.

Fort Dodge was down just 25-20 with 4:14 in the half after a pair of free throws from Van Zyl, but again the Jaguars went on a run and pushed the lead to 34-20 with 54 seconds left.

It was 36-23 at the half and then Winters took over.

She scored all but six of Centennial’s points in the third quarter, hitting 6 of 9 shots from the floor and one of two free throws and it was 55-39 at the end of the frame.

Fort Dodge managed just nine points in the fourth period and Centennial scored the first seven points of the quarter to put things away.

The Dodgers hit the road again Friday playing at Urbandale. The 1-8 Jayhawks took a three-game losing streak into last night’s game against Southeast Polk.