Dodgers tangle with No. 5 Hoover again

DES MOINES – Another shot at redemption awaits the Fort Dodge boys tonight.

The Dodgers, fresh off a victory over Mason City this past Monday night, take on No. 5 Des Moines Hoover in a Class 4A, Substate 2 semifinal. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the Huskie gym.

By avenging a pair of regular season setbacks to the Mohawks, Fort Dodge (10-11 overall) earned its second shot at toppling Hoover (19-2). In the regular season finale for both teams, the Huskies claimed a 62-56 victory here.

“The first time around we had tunnel vision,” said Fort Dodge head coach Tiom Daniel. “I was just focusing on my team, I didn’t even know they were ranked until after the game.

“We can’t assume that we’re going to have a similar result. We have to play with energy and play tough. They’re a very well coached team and they have all of our attention.”

In that meeting, senior Kyle Beisch spearheaded the FDSH upset bid, scoring 26 points, including six three-pointers. Sophomore Malcolm Clayton added 14 and junior Solomon Clayton 10, as the Dodgers were 11-for-17 from the three-point line as a unit.

“Kyle shot the ball well and we didn’t have any turnovers off of their press,” Daniel said. “They pressed the full game on every possession. We have to be patient on offense and can’t take quick early shots.

“We have to make it harder for their post to score. They are very athletic inside. We zoned them up inside and they still found holes. We have to cut down their post scoring and we have to rebound.”

After falling behind by nine, Fort Dodge cut it to a single possession before Hoover was able to seal the win at the free throw line. The Huskies were just 11 of 17 from the line, but that still provided them a plus-eight advantage over the Dodgers.

Beisch paces the FDSH attack at 16 points a night. The senior has made 125 field goals on the year, including 38 three-pointers. Solomon Clayton is second at 11.1 with Sam Kolacia also averaging 11. Kolacia is one of the more accurate three-point shooters in the state, sinking 32 of 56 from behind the arc.

Junior Douglas Wilson was 9 of 15 from the floor for 21 points, with senior Nate Lee adding 17. The two also combined for 19 rebounds.

Hoover has won two straight and 17 of its last 18 overall, losing only to West Des Moines Dowling during that time. The only other defeat for the Huskies came to Minnesota’s Hopkins back in early December.

Last year, Hoover went 22-3, settling for fourth place overall. Both Wilson and Lee were starters on that team, while Y’Vez Quinn and Devonte Thedford saw time on the court at state. Wilson (16 points), Quinn (12) and Lee (10) all average double figures on the year with Lee shooting 60-percent from the field and Lee 55-percent.

“This is a good opportunity for us,” Daniel said. “We’ve gotten through our first round games the past three seasons, but we’re not happy with one game and bowing out.

“We’re looking for a group to propel us into the next round. This is where our prepration all year comes together.”

The winner of tonight’s game meets the winner of Ames (14-7) vs. Waukee (15-7) on Tuesday in Ballard for one of eight state berths. The Little Cyclones host the Warriors, also at 7 p.m.