Tritons ready to ‘Jam the Gym’

The Iowa Central basketball team is hoping to gain some momentum in front of a large home crowd here Saturday, as the host Kirkwood for their annual “Jam the Gym” festivities inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

The women’s game will tip off at 1 p.m., with the men to follow at approximately 3 p.m.

In a Top-10 women’s clash, the No. 10 Tritons (17-3 overall, 6-2 in the ICCAC) will look to avenge an 85-78 loss earlier in the season to third-ranked Kirkwood (18-3, 7-1).

The Triton men (14-10, 3-4) will try to correct their mistakes from a 73-59 loss to the Eagles (14-6, 5-2) in Cedar Rapids.

The Tritons found themselves in an early first-half deficit and couldn’t dig out of that hole, suffering their first loss of the season at Kirkwood. Babaye Ojay turned in a double-double with with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Miliakere Koyamainavure led the Tritons with 18 points.

Kirkwood’s Danielle Woolfolk had 20 points. Hanna Haynes (12) and Ariel Snead (11) were also in double figures.

“We got behind early and couldn’t come back. It was the same kind of problems we had against (No. 2)?NIACC,” said Iowa Central head coach Craig Carlson. “I’m hoping we can correct those mistakes. We just have to rebound ball and be aggresive.”

The Triton women, who have won eight of their last nine games, enter Saturday’s contest with St. Edmond graduate Lydia Harvey (16.4) and Koyamainavure (16.1) as the third and fourth leading scorers in the league. Also averaging double figures for the Tritons are Katie Dentlinger (14.5) and Oja (11.6).

Woolfolk (13.6) and Snead (10.0) are the leading scorers for the Eagles.

“We have to be more aggressive going to the basket,” Carlson said. “We have to better against their press when we have numbers.

“They have a solid 10 (players), so our bench has to perform well. A big key for us is to get contribution from the reserves.”

The Tritons will enjoy a steady helping from the home crowd down the stretch, as they play six of their final nine games at home.

“We’re happy to be back (in Fort Dodge),” Carlson said. “We tend to shoot the ball better and home, and the crowd will be a big part of it.”

After starting the season 9-8, the Triton men have put together a strong run recently. Iowa Central has captured victories in five of its last seven contests, including an uspet over then-No. 6 Ellsworth.

“We’ve been playing good team basketball,” said ICCC head coach Dennis Pilcher. “We’ve been working with five guards and they’ve been playing well.”

This time around, Pilcher knows what the Tritons need to do to adjust.

“We can’t give them easy points and shots – especially second looks at the basket,” Pilcher said. “We’re moving the ball a lot better and penetrating and kicking it out.

“I’m very pleased with the progress.”

Dylan Travis (15.8) and Jesse Jones (14.1) are the leading scorers for the Tritons. Ky Kramer (9.4), Javonte Young (9.2) and Winston Yergler (8.3) are also top threats.

Pacing the Eaglers are JC Fuller (15.4), Joseph Tagarelli (13.4), Taylor Olson (11.6) and Ajay Lawton (9.6).

With six of their final seven contests inside Hodges Fieldhouse, Pilcher is hoping his squad continues to show signs of progress.

“It will be nice to be here in front of a nice crowd,” Pilcher said. “We are fired up to be back. We can compete with any team (in the league), as long as we take care of the ball and knock down shots.”