MHS girls beat Fort Dodge for second win in three games
You have to go back four years to find the last time the Marshalltown girls basketball team had multiple wins in a season.
At least that was the case before Friday night.
The Bobcats earned their second win of the year on Friday when they took down Fort Dodge in the Roundhouse in a 43-39 decision, and MHS head coach Stacy O’Hare said she is proud of her girls already matching their win total from the last three seasons combined just seven games into the most recent campaign.
“We’ve struggled in the past so for us to get our second win is huge,” O’Hare said. “It’s early in the season, we haven’t even gone into the break, and I think the best part is we get to play these guys again. There’s more wins out there on our schedule, they’ve just got to continue to believe that there is and play tough every night.”
While Marshalltown (2-5, 1-1) took home the victory against its CIML Iowa Conference rival, the Dodgers (0-8, 0-2) didn’t make it easy.
With less than three minutes remaining, Fort Dodge tied the game up at 36-all, the first tie since the middle of the first quarter. That tie would move to 38-38 by one-minute mark in the fourth quarter, and both teams got a couple shots at breaking said tie but couldn’t manage a basket.
That was until Bobcat senior Alyvia Chadderdon pulled up from the right elbow and knocked down a shot with 30 seconds remaining to give her team a 40-38 advantage.
“At first I was just like, ‘wow, I didn’t think I would make that, that’s pretty cool.’ Then I just started hearing the crowd, I would just listen and they are so loud and I had never heard that before,” Chadderdon said of the reaction to her go-ahead shot. “I just thought, ‘wow, that must have been really good.’ I felt pretty cool for a second there, but we had to keep playing. We know from experience if you give up on something it could be bad.”
Erica Johnson would make it a 42-38 lead by sinking a couple free throws with 19 seconds left, and the Dodgers and MHS would trade one more free throw each in the final seconds but the score would end with the Bobcats on top by four.
Chadderdon finished the game with a team-high 13 points, and O’Hare said she couldn’t have asked for more from the lone senior on the squad.
“I thought Alyvia played great, this was one of her better games,” O’Hare said. “She looked great, she played with confidence, she shot the ball and knocked it down and that just helps.”
As a whole the Marshalltown offense looked much better than it did in its last outing, a loss to Southeast Polk where the Bobcats scored a school record low five points.
“I felt like going against Southeast Polk they knew they were beat a little bit, but tonight they felt confident coming in,” O’Hare said. “They knew it was a winnable game and they played with more confidence, they just have to do that every night regardless of who we are playing.”
Even in that loss to the Rams, the MHS girls actually moved the ball well on offense, they just didn’t complete the process by taking a shot. That wasn’t the case on Friday night against Fort Dodge, as the Bobcats ran a tight offense that led to good, open looks and they turned it over just five times in the game.
“Right now early in the season I felt like Erica would pass it and she wouldn’t get it back,” O’Hare said. “We were turning it over, but right now multiple people are touching the ball within the offense, we are taking a little bit more time, we are being a little bit stronger with the ball. We still have room to improve, but we are getting better offensively as far as being aggressive and we don’t feel like we have to have one or two people score.”
Johnson and fellow junior Madi Finch each had 10 points to follow Chadderdon on the team leaderboard, and O’Hare said it was nice to see her big three all show up on the same night.
“Those three kids play hard and play well,” she said. “They’ve played together so I think they are finally reading each other.”
Chadderdon said it’s that familiarity between her, Johnson and Finch that is helping some of the team’s recent success.
“I really think we are starting to click a little bit because all of the juniors too have been playing every year that they’ve been here,” Chadderdon said. “We are having a lot more fun and that’s helping us in our wins.”
While those three accounted for 33 of the Bobcats’ 43 points, it was some tough defense that truly led to the victory.
Cheyenne Miller Hameed led the Dodgers with 14 points, but 10 of those game in the first half. O’Hare said the change came when she switched up the defense and put sophomore Kyra Feldman on a man-to-man assignment on Miller Hameed.
“Probably the biggest thing for us tonight was Kyra’s defense, we came out in the second half and played man because we knew that Miller Hameed and Doster were their go-to people and we were having a hard time stopping them within the zone. I thought Kyra played great on [Miller Hameed] trying to shut her down and everyone else did a nice job helping.
“Probably the biggest thing for us tonight was Kyra’s defense, we came out in the second half and played man because we knew that Miller Hameed was their go-to and we were having a hard time stopping them within the zone,” O’Hare said. “I thought Kyra played great on [Miller Hameed] trying to shut her down and everyone else did a nice job helping.”
Marshalltown got a little help off the bench too, as Emma Younkin came in to give the Bobcats some strong minutes that included four points, a block and a team-high two steals.
“Emma has done a nice job in practice and she’s worked hard so she’s earned that right to get out there,” O’Hare said. “I feel like we have a bench, we have kids that can step out there that aren’t going to hurt us.”
What O’Hare said she was most proud of was the way her girls fought through adversity and made plays when they needed to in order to come out with the victory.
“It didn’t go quite the way we wanted it but the kids were able to adjust on the fly,” she said. “I called timeout, we adjusted. We go into halftime, we adjusted, and they were able to do that.”
The MHS girls have a quick turnaround now as they host Urbandale today at 2:30 in the Roundhouse in a game rescheduled from earlier this year. O’Hare said the J-Hawks will pose a tougher test than the Dodgers did, but that doesn’t mean her girls should come out any less prepared.
“They have to go into the game with confidence, they have to believe that they can beat Urbandale,” she said. “They are a good team, but they’re not a Southeast Polk, they’re not a Waukee-type team. They are somebody that if we can go out and play we confidence and take care of the ball we can win.”
Marshalltown 43, Fort Dodge 39
FORT DODGE (0-8, 0-2) — Jacy Daniel 0 0-0 0, Tory Bennett 3 0-0 8, Jalen Adams 2 0-0 4, Cheyenne Miller Hameed 5 4-6 14, Tristin Doster 1 1-2 4, Aleaha Pommer 0 2-2 2, Juliet Thompson 0 0-0 0, Nicole Guerin 2 1-2 6, Ebonee Altman 0 1-2 1. TOTALS 13 9-15 39.
MARSHALLTOWN (2-5, 1-1) — Alyvia Chadderdon 6 0-0 13, Erica Johnson 2 6-8 10, Kyra Feldman 2 0-0 4, Madi Finch 1 8-10 10, Gabby Himes 0 0-0 0, Shakeiya Taylor 1 0-2 2, Emma Younkin 1 2-4 4. TOTALS 13 16-24 43.
FORT DODGE 8 12 7 12 — 39
MHS 13 10 9 8 — 43
3-Point Goals–FD 4 (Bennett 2, Doster, Guerin), MHS 1 (Chadderdon). Total Fouls–FD 16, MHS 14. Fouled Out–Doster.