Dodger girls advance

In the win or go home format of postseason basketball, Fort Dodge girls coach Scott Timmerman isn’t worried about style points.

After watching his team struggle in its first Class 4A regional game against Storm Lake Tuesday, all Timmerman cared about was his team will be playing again on Saturday after a 61-35 victory in the Dodger gym.

“Wins are all that matter now,” said Timmerman. “I won’t fault our effort. Our execution wasn’t great and we didn’t run our offense well, but everyone that played gave us their best effort and that’s all we can ask.”

Next up for the Dodgers, now 10-11, is a road game at Algona in a regional semifinal Saturday. Tip time is 7 p.m. The Bulldogs are 10-11 as well.

“This time of year is kind of exciting,” said Timmerman. “Everyone is even at 0-0. We talked that as you progress in the postseason, the atmosphere changes. We had a good crowd, but I am sure we’ll see a different atmosphere up there.”

Lani Van Zyl led the Dodgers with 14 points, while Mallory Kilian had 12 and Justice Crooks 10 off the bench. Fort Dodge struggled offensively, shooting just 19 of 59 from the floor, but a stingy defense made up for that.

The Dodgers held Storm Lake (1-20) to just 10 of 36 shooting. The Tornadoes also committed 31 turnovers.

Madison Gaffney was the only Storm Lake player in double figures with 10 points.

The game had a sluggish pace for the entire first half with 35 fouls called in the first 16 minutes alone. That led to 46 free throws shot, including 25 by the Dodgers.

“You just can’t get into a flow,” said Timmerman. “I think that kind of affected our offense, but our defensive effort made up for that.”

Fort Dodge was never really threatened, using a 11-0 run midway through the first half to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 15-6 lead with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

The Dodgers led 21-10 after the first period and extended it to 33-16 with 2:56 left on back-to-back buckets by Crooks. It was 40-21 at the half.

Both teams struggled scoring after the break. Fort Dodge made just two baskets in the third period and was five for eight from the free throw line, but Storm Lake managed just four points.

The Dodgers were just 20 of 36 from the free throw line, but against the Tornadoes helped the Fort Dodge cause, shooting just 14 of 32 from the line themselves.

The early fouls also led to foul trouble for both teams. Storm Lake had two players foul out.

The Fort Dodge-Algona winner will advance to the 4A regional final on Tuesday against either Spencer or Sioux City Heelan. Spencer beat Le Mars 44-40 last night. Heelan had the other bye in the bracket.