Fort Dodge boys basketball coach Tom Daniel said his team has been like Jekyll and Hyde this year. One look at last night's scorebook shows he's right.
The Dodgers scored just three points in the first period, then fought back into game with a solid second quarter, before a disastrous 4-point third quarter ended any chance at a comeback as Fort Dodge dropped another home contest, falling to Johnston 50-37 in the Dodger gym last night.
Fort Dodge fell to 1-3 at home. The Dodgers (5-3) are unbeaten on the road, where they'll be this Friday when they play at Des Moines Roosevelt.
"We've got that Jekyll and Hyde personality and I can't put my finger on it," said a frustrated Daniel after the loss. "When we reach that second level of competition, we are struggling. We've been able to beat the teams we should beat, but those teams with tradition, or the name or the ranking, we haven't had an answer for.
"Obviously we've got a lot of time to get better. This team is resilient. If we need to make changes, we'll make them."
The Dodgers were coming off double-digit road wins over Mason City (64-48) and Ankeny (73-60).
Fort Dodge 37
Fort Dodge Krunal Thakor 0-2 0-0 0, J.C. Hatcher 2-5 1-2 5, Andrew Stover 1-4 0-0 2, Blake Wilder 2-6 o-2 5, Zach Martinson 2-6 4-4 10, Sam Kolacia 1-3 2-2 5, Kyle Beisch 0-1 0-0 0, Marquan Clayton 1-1 1-3 3, Alex Jackson 0-0 1-2 1, Kyle Hanson 1-1 1-2 3, Thomas Hartley 1-1 0-0 3, Ben Ahlers 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Rivers 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Ellis 0-0 0-0 0, Solomon Clayton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 11-30 10-17 37.
Johnston Nick Stitzell 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Neumann 1-1 2-2 4, Derek Jones 2-4 2-4 6, Regen Siems 5-7 4-6 14, Jay Knuth 3-7 8-9 16, Jordan Binne 2-3 3-3 7, Tyler Blackburn 0-1 0-0 0, Michael Mahanna 0-1 0-0 0, Mark Sauber 0-1 3-3 3, Grant Riessen 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Heitkamp 0-0 0-0 0, Joe McGinn 0-0 0-0 0, Korbin Sesker 0-0 0-0 0, Casey Roshek 0-0 0-0 0, Reid sinnett 0-1 0-0 0, Amani Kyalangailiwa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-27 22-29 50.
Quarter scores: Johnston led 14-3, 26-14, 39-18; Total fouls: Fort Dodge 20, Johnston 21. Fouled out: Thakor; Three-point shots: Fort Dodge 5-12 (Thakor 0-1, Hatcher 0-1, Stover 0-1, Wilder 1-1, Martinson 2-4, Kolacia 1-2, Beisch 0-1, Hartley 1-1). Johnston 2-5 (Knuth 2-3, Binne 0-1, Sauber 0-1).
Fort Dodge put just one player in double figures, getting 10 points from senior Zach Martinson. The rest of the Dodger starters combined for just 12 points.
Leading scorer JC Hatcher had just five points - all coming in the fourth quarter when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Blake Wilder was also held to just five points. He scored all five in the first half.
"I have to give Johnston credit," said Daniel. "They played some good defense. This team has some high expectations and when we get in a hole like that everyone wants to be that guy to give us a spark and we push a little bit."
The Dragons (4-3) got 16 points from Loyola (Chicago)?recruit Jay Knuth and 14 from Regen Siems.
The Dodgers struggled from the floor, shooting just 11 of 30 (36 percent). They were just 5 of 20 in the first half.
Things got out of hand for the Dodgers right away. After Wilder hit a three to start the scoring, Fort Dodge missed its final eight shots of the period and watched Johnston race to a 14-3 lead after the first eight minutes.
The Dodgers actually missed 11 shots in a row before Martinson buried a three with 5:25 left in the half, but it was 19-6 by then.
"That was just too big a hole to get out of," said Daniel. "I don't know why we come out so slowly against teams we can't afford to fall behind."
The Dodgers got back to within 10 in the second quarter at 24-14 and trailed 26-14 at the break, but again they went cold and scored just one basket in the third period while taking only three shots. Johnston led 39-18 after the third period.
"That third quarter was terrible," said Daniel. "We had a lot of empty trips."
Fort Dodge actually scored more points in the fourth quarter (19) than it had in the previous three combined (18), but Johnston made all seven of its free throws in the final frame to keep the lead at double figures.
The Dodgers scored the final nine points of the evening.
Friday's contest at Roosevelt tips at 7:45. The Roughriders are 5-2. They opened the second half of the season with a 64-54 win over Des Moines Lincoln last Friday and did not play last night.