Fort Dodge outlasts MHS rally

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Josh Melde (20) puts up a shot after hauling down a rebound during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ loss to Fort Dodge on Friday.

To start the fourth quarter in Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference matchup between the Marshalltown boys basketball team and Fort Dodge, the Bobcats trailed the Dodgers 45-30 heading to the final frame.

MHS would eventually shrink that lead to as much as five in the fourth, but Fort Dodge was able to withstand the Bobcat surge and walk out of the Roundhouse with a 62-52 victory.

Marshalltown head coach Scott Smith said his guys were on sore legs after playing just 24 hours previously in a loss to Newton, but they can’t let one loss turn into two like they did on Friday night.

“For the second night in a row we kind of dug ourselves a hole and had to come back,” Smith said. “We have a thin margin of error and the message in the locker room was no excuses, we will have back-to-back nights coming up here a couple more times this year too and we just have to come out ready to play.”

It was relatively close in the early going, as the Bobcats (1-3, 0-1) and Dodgers (2-2, 1-0) traded blows in the first eight minutes before Fort Dodge gained a little breathing room to end the quarter and take a 15-8 lead into the second.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown sophomore Austin Shomo, left, drives in for a shot on Fort Dodge’s Aaron Porter during the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ 65-55 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night.

The Dodgers kept adding to their lead in the second, however, as they hit seven shots from the field and went 3-for-3 from the free-throw line on the way to a 33-19 advantage at halftime.

Smith said his guys didn’t quite have the defensive intensity they were looking for in the first half, which is how they found themselves down 14 after the first 16 minutes.

“I just thought that really was what we lacked early on,” Smith said. “I give Fort Dodge credit, don’t get me wrong, they made shots but I just felt they had it a little too easy there in the first half.”

There also wasn’t much on the offensive end for the Bobcats to start as well. Senior Luke Appel had it rolling, as he dropped in 13 of his team-high 29 points in the first half, but outside of Appel only Marshalltown only scored six points.

To start the third quarter, it was clear the Bobcats picked up their defensive intensity, as they only allowed 12 points for the Dodgers in the third quarter.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Smith said they saw some things they could exploit on the Fort Dodge defense, and his guys did well to capitalize on those areas defensively.

“That was the message at halftime, and I thought we came out guarded better,” he said. “We got up in them more and were more aggressive, instead of them dictating what was going to happen we began to be the initiators defensively and that’s the biggest thing we have to learn.”

While the defense turned around, the offense stagnated out of the half, as the Bobcats only scored 11 points in the third, all from Appel and senior Josh Melde.

Melde got things going in the fourth to start the Bobcat run, however, as he splashed a three to give Marshalltown some life on their first possession. Melde finished the game with eight points to accompany Appel’s 29, and Smith said those two have been the the fuel that makes the team go early on this season.

“They’ve been really our two leaders all year and Luke is just playing at such a high level right now, and Josh as well,” Smith said. “We have some other guys who I think are doing a great job, Austin (Shomo) and Bennett (O’Hare) and Jacob (Smith) and I thought even tonight Sam Irwin off the bench played his role beautifully on the defensive end. Reid Nennig gave us some good minutes tonight, so we are starting to get there but you like to learn those lessons while you win.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Winning is the ultimate goal each team strives for, and after taking down Ankeny in the season opener the Bobcats have now lost three straight. Smith said given how the program has fared the last few years, it’s hard for the guys not to fall back into the losing mindset, but he believes this team is different and is on the cusp of turning the program around.

“Sometimes when you lose games like this, the whole key is do you learn from it and grow from it and continue to try and work hard to get better,” Smith said. “We are just right there on the verge of breaking through, the last couple of years have been kind of tough so we almost have to relearn how to win again and create that culture that that’s the expectation. It’s right there, you can feel it, you can taste it.”

Marshalltown will attempt to break its current losing streak when it welcomes in Des Moines Roosevelt for a game on Tuesday, starting at 7:45 p.m. at the Roundhouse.

Fort Dodge 62, Marshalltown 52

FORT DODGE (2-2, 1-0) — Trey Mosley 4 1-2 10, Malcolm Clayton 10 10-12 31, Jace Peterson 2 0-0 4, Tysen Kershaw 4 2-2 10, Jordan Jackson 2 0-0 4, Isaiah Alvarez 0 0-0 0, Kaleb Jondle 1 1-1 3, Grant Barber 0 0-0 0, Aaron Porter 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 14-17 62.

MARSHALLTOWN (1-3, 0-1) — Austin Shomo 2 1-2 5, Josh Melde 3 0-0 8, Bennett O’Hare 1 2-4 4, Jacob Smith 2 2-2 6, Luke Appel 10 8-12 29, Conner Beaty 0 0-0 0, Sam Irwin 0 0-0 0, Reid Nenni

g 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 13-20 52.

FD 15 18 12 17 — 62

MHS 8 11 11 22 — 52

3-Point Goals–FD 2 (Clayton, Mosley), MHS 3 (Melde 2, Appel). Total Fouls–FD 19, MHS 16. Fouled Out–O’Hare.