DES MOINES - For a second straight year, the Fort Dodge girls basketball team opened its season in the win column Tuesday night.
The Dodgers (1-0 overall) edged Des Moines Hoover by a 58-56 final.
After trailing by seven points entering the fourth quarter, FDSH outscored the Huskies 23-14 down the stretch to earn the victory.
"We picked it up a little more defensively, and we took away (Mikayla) Larson, who started the second half just on fire," said Fort Dodge head coach Scott Timmerman. "We haven't been in a lot of close games the last couple of years, so to show that kind of fight was a huge step forward for this group."
Senior Tiana Mericle tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Dodgers, while junior Lani Van Zyl and sophomore Madi Bennett each contributed 11 points. Van Zyl also dished out five assists.
Ashley Altman, another senior, chipped in nine points, 10 boards and five assists for FDSH, which was without the services of senior Lexi Astor (concussion).
FORT DODGE 58, DES MOINES HOOVER 56
Fort Dodge - Lani Van Zyl 11, Mallory Kilian 7, Madi Bennett 11, Molly Matthes 3, Ashley Altman 9, Tiana Mericle 17.
Des Moines Hoover - Brianna Hale 2, Artoria Jung 8, Nyachristmas Puok 14, Malaysia Duncan 9, Mikayla Larson 19, Emily Hestbeck 4.
Quarter scores: H led 13-10, FD led 23-20, H led 42-35.
"Our seven or eight girls that played did an awesome job," Timmerman said. "We didn't go very deep with Lexi out, but we had a great team effort."
Larson recorded a game-high 19 points, including 17 after the break for Hoover (0-1). Nyachristmas Puok chipped in 14 for the Huskies, who missed a potential game-tying 12-foot jumper in the closing seconds.
Next action for the Dodgers is Saturday when they host intra-city rival St. Edmond for a Hall of Pride scrimmage. Tip is set for 7 p.m.