After experiencing plenty of high points during the early stages of their season, the Fort Dodge girls hope they'll never see a low like this again.
The Dodgers dropped their fourth consecutive lopsided contest here Tuesday, suffering a 78-34 setback on their home court to CIC cross-conference foe Johnston.
Fort Dodge was 4-1 with a victory over a Top-10 opponent not so long ago, but head coach Scott Timmerman's squad has gone into an ugly funk that reached the precipice last night. Super sophomore Rachel Hinders scored 32 points for the Dragons (5-5) - just a bucket shy of the Dodgers' total offensive production - as the visitors led by as many as 47 points in the surprising rout.
''We need to shake things up and make some changes if necessary,'' Timmerman said. ''After a loss like this on your home court, following up a (48-31 defeat against 2-6 Ankeny), you have no choice but to do some serious soul searching and figure out what, exactly, is going on and why it's leading to these (recent) results.''
At one point in the third quarter, the Dodgers trailed 55-9 and had committed 20 turnovers. For the game, Fort Dodge made only 12 field goals - with half coming in the fourth quarter - while shooting 31 percent from the floor and 33 percent at the free-throw line.
Junior guard Lani Van Zyl led the Dodgers with 16 points - all in the second half. Van Zyl picked up three early fouls and had to sit for the majortity of the second quarter.
JOHNSTON 78, FORT DODGE 34
Johnston - Rachel Hinders 12-17 8-10 32, Taylor Joens 3-5 0-0 7, Elle Brown 2-7 0-0 4, Shayna Stubbs 1-3 0-1 2, Emily Lehman 0-3 0-0 0, Taryn Knuth 6-10 4-6 16, Bri Handel 3-3 1-2 7, Morganne Grant 1-1 3-3 5, Haylee Towers 0-6 3-4 3, Paige Sieren 1-2 0-0 2, Julia Beswick 0-1 0-0 0, Ellie Roquet 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-58 19-26 78.
Fort Dodge - Lani Van Zyl 5-9 2-6 16, Tiana Mericle 1-5 3-4 5, Madi Bennett 1-5 0-1 2, Ashley Altman 1-9 0-1 2, Lexi Astor 0-0 0-0 0, Mallory Kilian 3-6 0-1 7, Justice Crooks 1-2 0-2 2, Kari Grindberg 0-3 0-0 0, Rachel Herrington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-39 5-15 34.
Quarter scores: Johnston led 16-4, 36-9, 57-16. Three-point goals: Johnston 1-11 (Joens 1-3, Towers 0-5, Brown 0-3); Fort Dodge 5-13 (Van Zyl 4-7, Kilian 1-3, Altman 0-3). Turnovers: Johnston 13, Fort Dodge 22. Total fouls: Johnston 16, Fort Dodge 19. Fouled out: Altman, Mericle.
Fort Dodge didn't score at all until the 3:12 mark of the first quarter. Ahead 36-9 at halftime, Johnston then tallied the first 19 points of the third period over a span of five-plus minutes to invoke the continuous-clock rule.
''(The Dragons) were really smothering defensively; they frustrated us quite a bit early, and it snowballed from there,'' Timmerman said. ''When we don't shoot the ball well or get off to a good start, we tend to lose our intensity and our focus. We have to be able to handle the adversity and fight through it.
''We need to get back to what got us to 4-1 in the first place. It's a lot more mental than physical at this point; the exectuion will pick up when we show a more consistent effort, but it just wasn't there (Tuesday). We have to get that fixed.''
The Dodgers visit Des Moines Roosevelt (2-7) on Friday at 6:15 p.m.