AMES - Fort Dodge head boys coach Tom Daniel saw a much better effort from his team Friday night, but the end result was a narrow defeat.
The Dodgers were unable to overcome a nine-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, falling to CIC Northern division rival Ames, 60-55.
Andrew Stover led a balanced Fort Dodge (3-7 overall, 1-2 in league) attack with 14 points, while JC Hatcher added 12. Krunal Thakor, Tyler Vaughn and Zach Martinson all scored nine.
"This was a frustrating game because we didn't finish quarters," Daniel said. "The effort was much better than Tuesday night against Waterloo West, but we allowed Ames to score at the end of the first, second and third. You can't do that and expect to win close games."
The Dodgers were behind by one with under a minute left, but were unable to capitalize despite having the ball. A missed shot, followed by a turnover resulted in the Little Cyclones (7-6, 2-0) icing the game away at the free throw line.
Ames went 11 of 20 from the charity stripe, compared to no free throw attempts by Fort Dodge.
AMES 60, FORT DODGE 55
Fort Dodge - Krunal Thakor 9, JC Hatcher 12, Tyler Vaughn 9, Andrew Stover 14, Blake Wilder 2, Zach Martinson 9.
Ames - Sam Straub 10, Nate Munn 2, Sam Rathe 18, Spencer Shane 14, Javan Water 14, Shawn Lenz 2.
Quarter scores: Fort Dodge led 16-14, Ames led 34-25, 42-33.
"We had a strong fourth quarter, scoring 22 points," Daniel said. "The kids battled, which is a credit to them, but we didn't finish the game like we should have.
"I feel like we will look back on this game and realize it was one we could have won by five instead of losing by five."
Sam Rathe scored 18 to lead the Little Cyclones, while Spencer Shane and Javan Water both scored 14.
The Dodgers return to action on Tuesday at home against West Des Moines Valley.