Dodgers face Valley

WEST DES MOINES – Fort Dodge will get its shot at redemption – with a lot more attached to it this time around.

The Dodgers (12-9 overall) suffered a 78-65 decision at Valley (13-8) earlier in the year, but Fort Dodge head coach Tom Daniel has his group ready to play.

This Class 4A substate semifinal will tip at 7 p.m.

“We have to guard them a little better on the peremiter,” Daniel said. “I think (Turner) Scott had a career game against us. We have got to close out on the shooter and put more pressure on the ball.

“We have a different game plan going in.”

In the regular season, Scott, only a freshman, had 26 points on 9 of 12 shotting, including six three pointers. The senior trio of Luke Umble (15), Tyler Williams (14) and Trei Mitchell (13) were also key threats for the Tigers.

On the Dodgers side of the ball, senior JC Hatcher (24) and Krunal Thakor (19) combined for 43 points. Thakor hit three triples for the Dodgers.

“We have to embrace the atmosphere, rather than be afraid of it,” Daniel said. “We absoutley could have played better in the first game. We scored 65 in a losing effort and we have to make some adjustments.

“We have to have a silent quiet confidence and play with a blue collar effort.”

The Dodgers are coming off a 64-48 first round victory over Mason City. Hatcher had the big game for the Dodgers against the Mohawks, scoring 20 points on 10 of 12 shooting.

Classmates Zach Martinson (16) and blake Wilder (13) were also in double figures with double-doubles. Both Martinson and Wilder pulled down 10 rebounds each.

“It was nice to get the first one out of the way, it is always the hardest,” Daniel said. “These seniors haven’t played bad basketball and know we get a chance to face a team we’ve seen.

“It’s nice to have played them already. I think we can hang around with them late and they’re beatable. We just have to compete with that quiet confidence.”

The winner of this contest will square off with either Ankeny Centennial (16-4) or Ames (12-11) to go to state on March 4 in Ankeny.