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Bobcat girls wither as Dodgers turn up heat

PHOTO BY BRITT KUDLA/FORT DODGE MESSENGER - Marshalltown’s Gabby Himes (30) shoots over Fort Dodge defender Tristin Doster (23) during Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference girls’ basketball game in Fort Dodge. Himes led the Bobcats with eight points.

FORT DODGE — The first half was what head coach Brian Murphy said his Marshalltown girls’ basketball team practices to be: sound on defense and functional within its offense.

The breakdown between the two facets of the game was what allowed Fort Dodge to pull away from the Bobcats in the second half.

The Dodgers got their first win since the first time they played the Bobcats, ending a six-game losing streak with Friday’s 57-26 victory in CIML Iowa Conference play.

Cheyanne Miller-Hameed scored a game-high 19 points as Fort Dodge (4-10, 2-4) found its momentum in the second half by turning MHS turnovers into fast-break opportunities and converting them. The Dodgers turned up their defensive pressure, and Murphy said his Bobcats didn’t respond well.

“It was a tale of two halves, and what almost felt like two different teams,” he said. “We played probably our best defensive half of the year in the first half, but our offense led to too many easy transition points in the fourth.

PHOTO BY BRITT KUDLA/FORT DODGE MESSENGER

“Midway through the fourth, our offense almost disappeared which led to too many easy transition layups on the other end. The final score turned out to be far more about our offensive struggles than our defense.”

Tory Bennett added 13 points and Jalen Adams chipped in three 3-pointers off the bench for Fort Dodge, which led 21-15 at the half.

Marshalltown (3-12, 0-6) was within 27-24 midway through the third period before Fort Dodge broke free with a 15-0 surge that lasted into the fourth.

Gabby Himes led Marshalltown with eight points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Priscila Vergara had six points, Lily Roberts had five points and three assists, Madi Finch scored five points, and Erica Johnson had two points, seven rebounds and four assists.

“We contested almost every shot in the first half, and our help defense was in correct position consistently,” said Murphy. “Offensively the ball was moving and we had good rhythm. I think almost every shot was assisted and came within our offense.

“In the second half we got frustrated and settled for tough passes and shots instead of being patient with the ball.”

Marshalltown held an early 7-3 lead before Fort Dodge finished out the quarter on an 8-2 run. The Dodgers never trailed again in their first win since topping the Bobcats 54-37 on Dec. 16, 2019.

Marshalltown’s road swing continues with Tuesday’s trip to Ottumwa for a cross-CIML contest at Evans Middle School.

Fort Dodge 57, Marshalltown 26

At Fort Dodge

MHS (3-12, 0-6) — Erica Johnson 0 2-6 2, Lily Roberts 2 0-0 5, Madi Finch 2 1-4 5, Priscila Vergara 3 0-0 6, Gabby Himes 4 0-0 8, Emma Younkin 0 0-0 0, Avygail Smith 0 0-0 0, Olivia Brintnall 0 0-1 0. TOTALS 11 3-10 26.

FORT DODGE (4-10, 2-4) — Tory Bennett 4 4-4 13, Aleaha Pommer 3 0-0 8, Cheyenne Miller-Hameed 7 5-5 19, Tristin Doster 2 0-1 4, Haley Wills 1 0-0 2, Jalen Adams 3 0-0 9, Ellie White 1 0-2 2, Jebreauna Clark 0 0-0 0, Rachel Sporrer 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 9-12 57.

MHS 9 6 9 2 — 26

FORT DODGE 11 10 19 17 — 57

3-Point Goals–MHS 1 (Roberts), FD 6 (Adams 3, Pommer 2, Bennett). Total Fouls–MHS 12, FD 16. Fouled Out–none.