Dodger girls honored by CIC

Two Fort Dodge girls basketball players were recently picked to the all-CIC Northern Division teams.

Junior Lani Van Zyl was selected to the top squad for the Dodgers, while senior Tiana Mericle made the second team.

In addition, senior Ashley Altman, junior Mallory Kilian and sophomore Madi Bennett each received honorable mention status.

Van Zyl, a 5-foot-7 point guard, anchored FDSH in scoring at 11.0 points per game. She also delivered team-highs in total points (242), made free throws (56), made 3-pointers (38), assists (74) and steals (53).

“I was proud Lani got on the first team after being on the second team last year,” Fort Dodge head coach Scott Timmerman said. “I thought she played pretty well this year, and obviously the coaches in the division felt the same way. We put a lot of pressure on her to handle the ball and distribute, but we also wanted her to hunt for her shot, which is kind of a contradiction for a point guard.

“We feel we’re a much better team when Lani is aggressive offensively. I still think she has a lot of room for growth in her game.”

Mericle contributed 10.3 points a night, while leading the Dodgers in total rebounds (196) and blocks (48). The 6-foot-1 forward shot 63.0 percent from the field.

“Tiana improved so much over the last couple of years,” said Timmerman. “She has spent a lot of time working on her game, and it really showed. I was a little disappointed she made the second team, because I thought she warranted a first team nod.”

Altman (8.5 points per contest), Kilian (6.7) and Bennett (6.4) finished 3-4-5 for Fort Dodge in scoring. Altman also grabbed 7.2 boards per contest.

The Dodgers went 11-12 overall this winter, including 2-4 in the league. Over the two previous years, FDSH combined for just three wins.

“We saw some growth in our overall effort this season,” Timmerman said. “Our girls felt like they could compete, and that attitude goes a long way. We bought in as a group and came together as a team, which was nice to see.”