Dodger reserves entertain crowd in rout

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Solomon Clayton of Fort Dodge shoots in between Marshalltown's Blake Linsenmeyer (32) and Austin Tullis (40) on Friday

Long after the Fort Dodge boys basketball team had assured themselves of a lopsided victory over CIML Iowa Division rival Marshalltown here on Friday, the Dodgers were able to enjoy a few lighter moments with their fans and reserve players who rarely get a chance to see the court.

In the final minutes of a 75-36 rout, Fort Dodge’s true character began to surface. The rare public glimpse into the chemistry and make-up of the squad said plenty about Tom Daniel’s ever-improving Dodgers.

And it made their head coach incredibly proud.

”All of the celebrating and cheering (the regulars) were doing for (the deep bench players) — that’s them. It’s completely sincere,” Daniel said. ”From our top guys all the way through, they support each other and want to see each other succeed.

”The leadership is fantastic, which is always a great place to start when you’re trying to build a winner. I’m glad they were able to have fun. They got really fired up again in the locker room (afterward), and it had absolutely nothing to do with the (margin of victory) or which starter scored how many points. It’s cool to see kids come together like that.”

Junior guard Malcolm Clayton scored 15 points to lead Fort Dodge, which is now 6-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in the division. The Dodgers pitched a first-quarter shutout against the Bobcats (1-8, 0-3) and led 20-0 before the visitors finally scored over nine minutes into the contest.

It was the 29 bench points, though — with 18 in a row coming in the final six minutes of regulation — that really brought the crowd to its feet.

After senior Austin Gehlhausen swished consecutive three-point baskets to set the tone, foreign exchange student Marco Fumagalli knocked down two field goals and a pair of free throws for his first points of the season. And while Edward Crawford didn’t manage to connect on any of his three shot attempts, players and fans did their best to will the ball into the basket for him.

The FDSH student section, which chanted Crawford’s name in encouraging Daniel to play him for the first time this year, gave a rousing ovation after each Fumagalli point and Crawford possession. The team then had Crawford break down the final huddle after Daniel’s postgame locker room speech.

Sophomore Jordan Jackson added 10 points, while senior starters Solomon Clayton and Brady Read added eight each. Gehlhausen, Fumagalli, Damion Chavez and Edker Foy contributed a combined 23 bench points.

After a relatively slow start from the floor, the Dodgers shot 60 percent in the second half (18 of 30). Fort Dodge made its first eight field goal attempts in the third quarter.

The Dodger defense again stole the show, though, surrendering 40 or fewer points for the fourth time already this season. Fort Dodge now has the third-best scoring defense in all of Class 4A at 43.6 points per contest.

”That will always be our identity,” Daniel said. ”Shooting and offense comes and goes at times, but if you rely on your defense and keep the intensity up, it tends to frustrate and wear (opponents down) in the second half.

”I’m glad the guys are creating expectations in our community. They expect a lot out of themselves. We’re looking forward to (the coming week’s) challenges.”

After a trip to Southeast Polk this Tuesday, the Dodgers will square off with Johnston (6-3) at home on Friday before visiting sixth-ranked West Des Moines Dowling (6-2) on Saturday.


Fort Dodge — Malcolm Clayton 5-9 4-4 15, Jordan Jackson 5-10 0-0 10, Solomon Clayton 3-6 2-2 8, Brady Read 4-6 0-0 8, Trey Mosley 2-6 0-0 5, Austin Gehlhausen 2-3 0-0 6, Marco Fumagalli 2-2 2-2 6, Damion Chavez 3-4 0-0 6, Edker Foy 1-4 3-4 5, Silas Naylor 1-3 0-0 2, Joe Artis 1-2 0-0 2, Jace Peterson 1-2 0-0 2, Edward Crawford 0-3 0-0 0, Tyreike Mericle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-63 11-12 75.

Marshalltown — Luke Appel 7-20 2-5 18, Josh Melde 2-8 2-4 8, Dayton Slifer 1-4 0-0 3, Austin Tullis 1-5 0-2 2, Blake Linsenmeyer 0-3 0-0 0, Marquis Haynes 0-0 2-2 2, Jacob Smith 1-4 0-2 2, Reid Nenning 0-0 1-2 1, Conner Beaty 0-3 0-0 0, Ryan Bates 0-1 0-0 0, Tyrell Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Sean McWilliams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-48 7-17 36.

Quarter scores: Fort Dodge led 14-0, 29-10, 49-28. Three-point goals: Fort Dodge 4-13 (Gehlhausen 2-2, Mosley 1-2, M. Clayton 1-3, Bowser 0-2, S. Clayton 0-1, Foy 0-1, Peterson 0-1, Crawford 0-1); Marshalltown 5-22 (Melde 2-4, Appel 2-9, Slifer 1-4, Beaty 0-3, Smith 0-1, Davis 0-1). Turnovers: Fort Dodge 5, Marshalltown 12. Total fouls: Fort Dodge 18, Marshalltown 12.