Facing a pair of road doubleheaders this week, plenty of opportunity lies ahead for the Fort Dodge boys and girls basketball teams.
The Dodgers travel to Waterloo West tonight and CIC Northern Division foe Ames on Friday.
Tip for both girls games is slated for 6:15 p.m., followed by boys action at approximately 7:45 p.m.
After snapping a mini two-game losing streak with a nail-biting 63-61 home upset of then-No. 6 (Class 4A) Urbandale Friday, the Dodger boys (3-6 overall, 1-1 in the league) appear to be just hitting their stride.
Juniors JC Hatcher (13.9), Zach Martinson (10.8) and Andrew Stover (9.4) anchor the balanced attack for Fort Dodge. Hatcher, Stover and senior Tyler Vaughn combined for 45 points in the triumph over the J-Hawks.
"We've been emphasizing hard work, which is the reason we won Friday," FDSH head coach Tom Daniel said. "We certainly don't want that win to be the high point of our season, though. The message we sent (yesterday) is we have to stay humble and hungry."
Dodger Boys (3-6, 1-1)
G JC?Hatcher, 6-0, jr., 13.9
G Andrew Stover, 5-11, jr., 9.4
F Tyler Vaughn, 6-4, sr., 8.2
F Zach Martinson, 6-4, jr., 10.8
F Blake Wilder, 6-3, jr., 8.2
Dodger Girls (3-8, 0-2)
G Lani Van Zyl, 5-7, so., 9.5
G Lexi Astor, 5-9, jr., 6.3
F Ashley Altman, 5-9, jr., 5.3
F Mallory Kilian, 5-9, so., 6.5
F Tiana Mericle, 6-1, jr., 4.5
Malik Green (12.7) and Carderius Smith (10.7) are the top offensive threats for the Wahawks (5-4), who pounded Union by a 66-47 count in their last outing. West's four losses this season have come against opponents with a combined overall record of 30-12.
"They're very athletic," said Daniel of the Wahawks. "We went down last Tuesday to scout them, and they reminded me a little bit of a combination between (Des Moines) North and Hoover.
"I don't know if they shoot the ball the greatest (West is shooting 35.2 percent behind the arc), but playing them on their home court, we need to have the same type of focus and intensity after a long bus trip."
Ames (5-6, 1-1) is spearheaded by Justin Sloter (13.0), Nate Munn (12.1) and Sam Straub (11.3). The Little Cyclones, who swept the Dodgers last winter, were upended in a 57-44 decision at West Des Moines Dowling Saturday.
"Of all the teams we play, I think style-wise Ames is probably the closest thing to what we are," Daniel said. "Our kids have kind of grown up together, and we're very familiar with them.
"Whatever team rebounds better and gets to the free throw line more will have the advantage."
The Dodger girls (3-8, 0-2) are looking to turn the page after suffering a bitter 30-28 setback to Urbandale. Sophomores Lani Van Zyl (9.5) and Mallory Kilian (6.5) are the main weapons for Fort Dodge, who has dropped eight of its last nine games.
Haley Puk (17.4), Blaire Thomas (17.2) and Sammie Sproul (10.5) all score in double figures for No. 10 (5A) Waterloo West (9-4), which has prevailed in five of its past six outings.
Catalysts for the Little Cyclones (7-5, 1-1) are Oklahoma recruit Shaya Kellogg (11.6) and Ashley Ray (9.8). Kellogg also grabs 7.6 rebounds per game.