Fort Dodge head girls coach Scott Timmerman did his best to keep the adrenaline level of his team in-check Tuesday night with No. 9 (Class 5A) Waukee in town.
However, for the 14th consecutive time, the Warriors were too much, as they picked up a 77-54 victory inside the FDSH gym.
After winning the first-ever meeting between the two schools in the 2006-07 season, Fort Dodge (4-2 overall) has dropped the last 14 - with 12 of them coming by double digits.
Despite this one being another one of those losses, Timmerman saw an improved second half that led him to see light at the end of the tunnel.
"We came out in the second half and didn't give up," he said. "Against Dowling (earlier this year), we did that after halftime.
"I thought our girls continued to battle, we just couldn't get enough stops or string together even baskets to really get back in it."
WAUKEE 77, FORT DODGE 54
Fort Dodge - Lani Van Zyl 4-12 1-4 10, Lexi Astor 2-8 0-0 4, Madi Bennett 2-7 2-2 6, Ashley Altman 7-13 1-3 16, Tiana Mericle 3-4 1-1 7, Justice Crooks 0-0 2-2 2, Mallory Kilian 3-6 3-7 9, Rachel Herrington 0-2 0-2 0, Molly Matthes 0-0 0-0 0, Kari Grindberg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-53 10-21 54.
Waukee - Taylor Wingert 2-9 1-3 5, Anna Kollmorgen 5-13 7-8 17, Reilly Jacobson 6-13 4-5 17, Sarah Ripperger 2-4 1-2 5, Ellie Cavanaugh 4-6 3-3 11, Carlie Littlefield 2-3 0-0 5, Miranda Hunzeker 5-10 1-1 15, Taylor Gehring 0-0 0-0 0, Christina Behrens 0-1 0-1 0, Kylie Coleman 1-3 0-0 2, Kelli Fogt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-64 17-23 77.
Quarter scores: Waukee led 28-17, 52-29, 66-41. Three-point goals: Fort Dodge 2-14 (Van Zyl 1-7, Bennett 0-2, Altman 1-2, Kilian 0-2, Grindberg 0-1); Waukee 6-15 (Wingert 0-2, Kollmorgen 0-1, Jacobson 1-3, Littlefield 1-2, Hunzeker 4-7. Total rebounds: Fort Dodge 35, Waukee 40. Steals: Fort Dodge 6, Waukee 13. Blocked shots: Fort Dodge 2, Waukee 4. Turnovers: Fort Dodge 26, Waukee 16. Points off turnovers: Fort Dodge 6, Waukee 24. Team fouls: Fort Dodge 21, Waukee 24. Fouled out: Altman, Mericle, Littlefield.
Ashley Altman scored a team-high 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds, while Lani Van Zyl had 10 points, four assists and three steals.
As a unit, though, the Dodgers made just 10 of 21 shots from the free throw line and were just 2-for-14 from the three-point line - stark contrasts to Waukee's (5-0), 17 made free throws and six made triples.
Reilly Jacobson scored 17 and grabbed 12 boards, while Miranda Hunzeker posted 15 first half points off the bench. Anna Kollmorgen, one of two starters back from a year ago, also scored 17.
"We knew this was a big game," Timmerman said. "The girls came out and really used up a lot of energy in the first quarter. We tried to settle them down a number of times, but they just had their adrenaline going.
"We've got to be smarter about where we use our energy because that initial burst came back to hurt us when we had players taking defensive plays off to rest up."
Fort Dodge jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, but the Warriors closed the first quarter on a 19-4 run, thanks in large part to Hunzeker's three-point shooting.
The senior made her first five shots from the field off the bench, including three three-pointers.
"We didn't do a good job of rotating and keeping with the shooters," Timmerman said. "We talked about it and we worked on it, but it just didn't happen on the court.
"We had instances where we were doing things right on both ends, but than we would make a mistake on offense and let that hurt us on defense."
Waukee, which won 17 games a year ago including a 65-15 victory over the Dodgers, pushed its lead to as many as 20 in the opening half.
Fort Dodge will conclude its pre-break schedule at Mason City on Friday night. Tip is set for 6:15 p.m.