Dodger boys win tight contest

URBANDALE – The Fort Dodge boys basketball team continued its winning ways on the road Friday night.

Improving to 6-0 away from home this season, the Dodgers (7-4 overall) escaped with a 77-76 victory over Urbandale.

“If you look at who our road wins have come against, that tells me something about the character of this group,” said FDSH head coach Tom Daniel. “Our kids deserve a lot of credit for staying focused and humble. We really didn’t finish the first half very strong, but we changed our gameplan, and our guys responded very well. I tip my hat to our seniors.”

Seniors JC Hatcher and Blake Wilder each scored 24 points for FDSH, while classmate Andrew Stover added 13. Wilder also grabbed 10 rebounds, and Hatcher pulled down six boards. As a team, the Dodgers committed only nine turnovers and went 19 of 29 from the free throw line.

“Getting 24 points from both Wilder and Hatcher was just huge with (Zach) Martinson fouling out and Krunal (Thakor) in foul trouble,” Daniel said. “I thought we got some key minutes from (Kyle) Beisch and (Sam) Kolacia, who combined for seven points off the bench. A lot of credit goes to them for not backing down and learning on the fly. It’s always tough for sophomores to be able to adapt, but I’m pretty happy with what they’re doing.”

Down by five points at the half, Fort Dodge outscored the J-Hawks (3-7) 24-13 in the third quarter. The Dodgers then led by nine with around three minutes left before holding off a late Urbandale charge.

“We obviously need to learn how to close out games better, but you can never complain with a road win,” said Daniel. “Hopefully, this can propel us into Tuesday now against Waterloo West. We just have to keep sticking together and plugging away.”

Allen Lazard, an Iowa State football recruit, finished with 25 points for the J-Hawks before fouling out. Brody Egger was right behind with 24.

Fort Dodge’s 77 points Friday was its highest offensive output since a 77-51 triumph at Des Moines North on Feb. 12 of 2011.

The Dodgers will host the Wahawks (3-5) on Tuesday. Waterloo West suffered a 51-43 home setback last night to Cedar Falls.